Although every parent was once a teenager, we sometimes forget what those in-between years were like and judge our offspring as if they were a separate species.
Teens can be confounding, delightful and maddening all at once. They have strong ideas about what they want to do when and with whom, and these ideas don't always match their parents' preferences.
Add technology and the ubiquitous smartphone to the mix and parents may wonder what happened to lovely little Jonny or Jill who was always up for anything.
Have they been abducted by aliens?
The Technology Issue
A frequent parental lament is that children are spending too much time indoors with technology.
This perception is so common, that this past fall Whistler Blackcomb identified technology and the hold it has on children as a major threat to the future of snowsports.
As a father in the video says, "Pretty much every parent I know faces this battle: Kids wanting to stay at home and play with their technology versus getting outside. It's a struggle. It's a struggle for people with busy lives, for sure."
For parents of teens, this can be an especially frustrating issue. Younger children are more of a captive audience. If the family is going skiing, they have no choice but to go. With teens, especially those who can drive, it's harder to force the issue.
Still, there are ways to motivate your tweens and teens without resorting to anger or despair.
Five Tips for Parents
1. Set the Tone:
While you may be tempted to tell your child to "put down the phone and get outside," we've found that this message is much more well-received when it's phrased this way.
"I'm going skiing this weekend. Do you want to come?"
Teens are social and while they may not always want to ski with mom and dad, they are more likely to join you for a day of skiing if you simultaneously give them some control (let them choose the day or time) and let them know that you value their company.
So put down your phone, turn off the computer and invite your teen outdoors. Set the tone for healthy active winter fun and your teen is more likely to follow.
2. Provide Necessary Help:
If getting your teen outdoors in winter is a priority, you can help make it happen by driving a group of kids to the mountain, picking them up at the end of they day and being on hand to offer help and technical assistance.
If your son or daughter wants to ski with friends, work together to make it happen. Cherish the opportunity to help your child be social and enjoy time with friends.
And don't forget to bring your own skis. Meet up with friends of your own, but be ready to take a run with your teen and friends. They just might invite you.
3. Make It Happen:
Put something on a calendar and it’s more likely to happen. Together with your teen, plan a special ski day. Skip a day of school and work. Visit a new resort. Study the trail map together and choose new terrain to explore. Take a lesson together, building your skills or trying something new like snowboarding or ski touring.
Make this special day an adventure to remember. Commit to the date and don't let anything get in your way. Make it happen.
4. Get in the Backseat:
While skiing in the "backseat" is always a bad idea (both for your quads and your form), taking a backseat role to your teen is often a great idea.
Give your teen carte blanche to plan a ski day, weekend or a week. Set any necessary parameters (for example, how much you're willing to spend, whether he or she can bring friends and so on) and turn your teen loose.
Not only will you likely have a great time skiing together, but your teen will learn some planning and logistical skills, and you'll get some insight into your child's burgeoning identity.
Adults and teens often look at life differently. Adults, with our sometimes hectic, too-full lives, can get caught up in the "doing" and miss out on the "being."
When spending time with your teenager and your family, try to focus on the "being."
Enjoy the moment you're in, the bounty of the snow, the clear blue sky above and the special companionship that comes of enjoying a beloved sport together.
6. Take advantage of chairlift time:
Let your teen steer the conversation while you listen. Captive together for a few minutes, you have the opportunity to build lasting bridges in your relationship while prepping for your next run.
Enjoy the conversation and have fun along the way.
Hailing from Colorado (USA) Kristen Lummis, or as she is better known, the Brave Ski Mom, is an avid skier and true family mum in every sense of the word. www.thebraveskimom.com