When your sweet and biddable child suddenly turns into a sullen teenager, spending more time with them may seem like the last thing either of you wants to do. But it will do them the world of good, US researchers say.
They studied 200 families over seven years, and found teenagers who spent more time with their parents tended to have better social skills and higher self-esteem. While the time teenagers spent with their parents from early to late adolescence steadily declined overall, this was mostly ‘social time’, shared with other family members or friends.
Perhaps surprisingly, one-on-one time with a parent, whether doing homework, watching television or going out, rose in ‘early to middle adolescence’, defined as up to the age of about 15. Professor Susan McHale, the study’s author, believes this time may be crucial to teenagers’ well-being.
The child who is ‘left behind’ most is the one who leaves school without transition readiness.