Summer is here in Ottawa, and soon our high-schooler’s will be out of school!
Summer vacation is a yearly occasion parents see as an opportunity to grow and strengthen their relationships with their children. Parents cook up a variety of ideas, some of which succeed and many of which fail. Learn from these experiences with Ottawa Youth Counselling to ensure that this summer is one you and your kids will never forget!
1. Camping is Great, When Done Right!
Camping is a quintessential family summer activity. Away from technology and the distractions of domestic life, attention and focus can be turned to one-another.
When planning a camping trip, it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone likes it outside, and siblings kept in close quarters for long periods of time (tents, vehicles) are a recipe for chaos.
Anticipate as many problems as you can in advance, and address them to keep stress levels low. Try keeping feuding siblings seated apart, rent multiple tents for adequate space, bring plenty of bugspray, or consider renting a cottage instead!
It’s also important to do what you can to ensure that your expectations are kept in line with reality. There’s no such thing as a family trip without a degree of chaos, so don’t expect an idyllic camping experience! Many of the best family memories emerge from pure chaos, so be ready to enjoy that too!
2. Pick a Summer Project
Consider making a goal that you and your teen can share starting at the beginning of summer, planned to be finished by the end.
Maybe it’s fixing an old car up, so you can teach your daughter or son about car maintenance.
Consider planting a garden! You and your kids can cultivate your relationship while you cultivate vegetables for the family!
3. Get Active!
If your concerned about your child’s exercise levels, or maybe just your own, consider looking into a regular outdoor activity you think you’d both enjoy learning!
Archery, rock climbing, hiking, bicycling, etc. By engaging in an activity that is new to the both of you, you can help each other learn and mutually participate in self-development. Motivating each-other to push limits, helping each other through failure, and enjoying each other’s success is a recipe for life-long memories.
4. Learn To Speak Your Teen’s Language
It’s common for parents to introduce their teens to experiences and memories that parents enjoyed growing up.
It’s less common for parents to approach their teens favorite things and try to enjoy them themselves, but doing so can be even more rewarding. Consider the experience of the famous Terry Crews:
5. Volunteer In Your Community
In Ottawa, every teen has to complete 40 mandatory volunteer hours to graduate, but few students (or parents!) consider this until right before graduation.
A great way to earn these hours and bond with your child is to do them together.
Find a cause or activity that has meaning for you and your teen. If you like dogs, consider getting in touch with the Humane Society. To help the homeless, the Salvation Army is always looking for volunteers. Try seeing if a local farmers market needs help with set-up and tear-down. If you’re both into music, see if you can volunteer at a festival!
Managing Relationships With Ottawa Youth Counselling
One of the defining struggles of parenting is navigating your relationships with your children.
During the teen years especially, it can be tough to balance the sometimes contradictory identities of parent and friend. You need to be an authority, but you want to maintain intimacy as well.
It isn’t easy watching the child that once depending on you entirely grow into an independent person, but it’s made easier when you have help.
To find out how to access this help, and what it can do for your relationship with your teen, get in touch with Ottawa Youth Counselling.