All working professionals have to struggle with balancing home and work life. It can be tempting to get caught up at the office and put in that extra time to get ahead in work. Even if you leave work at 5pm on the dot, are you really able to leave work at the office? A lot of parents come home from work still carrying the stress and concerns of the day with them. This can negatively affect your family life, and this issue can be exacerbated when there are teens in your home.
Teens are going through a vital phase of their life. Above all, support and consistency are essential at this stage because teens are hyper-sensitive and overly aware of any real or potential attacks on their self-worth. If you’re away at work when they feel like they really need to talk to you, it can do long-term damage to the relationship. If you choose work over family, most teens take this personally, lacking the ability to understand that it’s not about them at all. You can also always count on your teen to sniff out even the slightest hint of hypocrisy. If you have a rule about phones during family time, be sure you are on board as well. Teens already have issues with authority and this can blow up if their parents are unable to balance work and home life.
So how do you find the balance?
- Be open with your teen about your work. Even if you’re sure that your job is boring, your profession has an impact on them, so talking to them about it can be helpful. Explain the work you do and why you’re involved in it. Be transparent about things like projects and deadlines, especially when they are things that may lead to you working more hours or being available less. Teens who feel involved are less likely to feel angry or hurt if you aren’t around for them 100% of the time.
- Set aside dedicated family times. Find a block of time somewhere during the week where the whole family can be together, undistracted and unbound by outside obligations. Don’t let anything interfere with this time. This is your way to show your teen that family life is the single most important thing in your life, and they will remember this even when it feels like you’re never around.
- When you can, choose your teen first. If you are confronted by a situation where it is either your teenager or your job, make it a point to choose your teen any time that you can. Use this time to give them your undivided attention and let them steer the time spent together. When your teen feels like you care and pay attention, they will be that much more likely to come to you openly and honestly when they have issues in their life.
Utilizing these strategies to find the balance between work and home life will make every bit of difference to your family. This can be a turning point for everyone involved, especially if you feel like your teen might be struggling.