As parents of teenagers, we’ve all experienced the stubbornness that adolescence can bring. Whether it’s an argument over decisions your son has made, a disagreement about the time he needs to be home, or dissenting opinions about how he is spending his time, these conversations quickly become a normal fact of life throughout the teenage years. One of the most common sources of these disagreements is often how much time your teen is spending in their room.
Why Does Your Teen Spend So Much Time in Their Room?
Adolescence is a time in which teens are developing their sense of independence and identity. As a result, they often spend time figuring out what it is that they enjoy and what they want their future to look like. This can create a lot of internal turmoil and leave them with more questions than answers about their lives. As teens gain and assert their independence, time alone becomes increasingly more important.
It can feel alarming if your son only wants to spend time in his room when he returns home from school, work, or other activities, but it’s important to remember that this is not necessarily a negative quality. There are positive aspects to teens spending time alone, such as devoted time to a new hobby or a chance to develop friendships over the phone. It can be concerning, though, if this time feels more isolating than beneficial. While it may be tempting to try to force your teen out of his room, let’s think about ways to bring him out through positive interactions.
Find a Mutual Interest
As your teen develops new hobbies and interests, he may no longer want to do the same things he used to find enjoyable. Have conversations with him about the new things he is enjoying and find ways to support these new interests. If he has spent a lot of time researching and watching videos about trading cards, for example, ask if there would be a time he would like to go to a comic book store to look at cards. Your son will likely appreciate your interest in his new hobby and welcome the chance to share this with you. This helps get him outside for a bit and can give you both common ground to have conversations about later.
Schedule Intentional Family Time
One of the complaints teens often have about spending time outside of their room is that there isn’t anything going on in the house that they want or need to be a part of. To help this, schedule family time each week where you plan an activity for the family to do together. This could be a game night, a family dinner out at a restaurant, or visiting a new attraction in your area. By making this time intentional, your son will more likely be invested in the activity, and since it is planned ahead, he won’t have as much of an excuse to not participate.
Be Willing to Have Open Conversations
One of the biggest barriers between teens and parents is often a lack of communication. As teens assert their independence, their desire to have conversations with their parents may decrease. It’s important to note, though, that this is not personal and all teens exhibit this behavior. To help with this, let your son know you are willing to talk whenever he needs to and withhold judgment as much as possible in these conversations. If he opens up about drug or alcohol use, for example, it might be tempting to jump to punishment. Try having a conversation about what led him to make this decision first and discuss any necessary recourse after. This helps him to see that you are willing to listen fully before either jumping to a conclusion or providing a consequence.
Support for Teens at ARCH Academy
If you have implemented these tips but are worried there is something more going on, it may be time to seek further support. This is especially true when it comes to addiction and addictive behaviors. Sometimes, teens are spending time in their rooms to hide dangerous choices, such as habitual drinking, and they may need someone to intervene. If your son is showing signs of a drug or alcohol addiction and would benefit from residential treatment, ARCH Academy can help. Our treatment program, designed specifically for adolescent males aged 14-17, provides your son the opportunity to complete their necessary schoolwork while receiving the help he needs. If you’d like to learn more about our program model, contact our team today.