Many parents ask themselves the question “How do I get my teen out of her room?” You want to connect with your teen. It’s important to you to have some real conversations with your teen. You don’t just want the small talk. Sometimes, you feel lucky to even get that small talk. It can feel incredibly frustrating to want so badly to connect with your teen again but you just don’t know how. It feels like they are in their own little bubble!
You end up feeling more and more disconnected from your teen. Most of your communication is around the to do’s of life. This can feel rather sad as a parent. Not only is your baby going up so darn quickly you also feel so disconnected in their teenage years. They have all the energy in the world to talk endlessly to their friends on facetime, be on social media etc etc but what about time for you? You aren’t asking for much. All you want is a little conversation. Maybe watch a movie together. Have a meal without electronics. You want to feel that you are a part of your teen’s life. And not just in the listing the “to do’s” kinda way.
Unfortunately what ends up happening are so many feelings of helplessness and frustration as you attempt different things to make it better. Nothing really feels like it’s working….
Maybe things with your teen not leaving her room looks like this:
You have dinner ready to go and you call for your teen to come join. You spend a bit of time preparing it all so you can have a nice dinner together. Your teen comes walking out with her phone and you can’t help yourself but have a jerk instinct to say “get off your phone.” Maybe you hold it in, because you’ve played out this movie before and it doesn’t typically go that well.
Once you are all sitting down and getting started you ask some questions of your teen about their upcoming weekend plans. Your teen is rather short with you. Answers with one word responses. It feels like they are doing you a favor by even responding. You decide to share a story about something you heard on the news. Your teen is super quiet. You know they are thinking about a whole bunch of other things. All you long for is to have a real conversation with them.
After dinner, your teen rushes back to her room. You try to get them to come back out to watch a movie together. Your teen says they have work or about to get online with a friend or they are tired. Inside all you really hear is “I don’t want to spend time with you.” It really hurts but you’re pretty used to it by now.
Eventually you wind up in a place of hopelessness. You want it to be different. You want it to get better. But you just don’t know what your next move is.
There is a feeling of despair and you feel like giving up. Deep inside you know you don’t want to. You know you want more for your teen, for you, and for your relationship. The truth is that you are not the only parent to feel this way! So many parents of teens are in the same boat as you.
It’s true that teens that are staying in their room can be rather frustrating for parents. However, if you can go about things differently with your teen you can make some big and real changes.
How Do I Get My Teen Out Of Her Room? Let’s Get Into The Specifics!
How Do I Get My Teen Out Of Her Room? Strategy #1: Brainstorm with them what they would look forward to doing together
A lot of the time we can bring our own agenda to our children. What we think should and shouldn’t be. But with teenagers (all ages honestly) when we bring too much of our agenda we lose them. The reality is that teens feel that so much is not in their control. If they are already lower on motivation to get out of their room and do anything other than be on their phone… we want to try to get them involved in family time ideas!
Likely they lost sight of what fun family time can look like or their routines in their room (or maybe some sadness and withdrawal) has become all consuming. Asking them what they would be into doing together more openly. When you come up with ideas, bring up the things they like to do. The key is joining them where they are. If they are into a certain video game maybe play with them. Let them teach you. If they are watching certain youtubers learn about who they are and watch with them.
The biggest thing is to include them in the process and meet them where they are. Join them.
Our team of therapists and psychologists in Simi Valley, Ca work with families in teen therapy on supporting parents on meeting their teens where they are. This can be difficult for some parents as we tend to continue to do what we are used to doing. During teen Therapy in Simi Valley we make sure to help parents expand what they are used to doing and try things differently.
How To Get My Teenager Out of Their Room? Strategy #2: Really get at and understand at the root what it’s all really about for them
It can be hard to understand what is going on in a teen’s mind. Especially when they keep quite a bit to themselves. And when they keep to themselves and aren’t responsive to us as parents this can feel frustrating and even scary to experience your teen so distant. Something to keep in mind is the importance of truly understanding what feelings are underlying it all. Are they anxious about whether they fit in with their friends? Maybe they scared of what others think of them? Are they possibly trying to avoid family turmoil or upset by withdrawing?
When you are able to get at the feelings underneath you can identify this with them. You can share with them what you think the underlying feelings are. This will also help understand them better.
At our Simi Valley Therapy practice we help parents truly understand their teens. As parents sometimes we can forget what it was like at their age.
What life was like. What the overwhelm was all really about. And even when we try to remember and embrace that time it is never the same as you are not them. Our team of therapists work with you and your teen on having more raw real conversations that help skip over the aspects that typically lead to conflict or further disconnection.
When you truly understand what is underneath your teens experience and need for time in their room you are able to also get at who they are as a person. You will also better understand how to work with them on wanting more family time. Once you get into a momentum of more connection and time together you will develop more appreciation for one another.
How Do I Get My Teen Out Of His Room? Strategy #3: Set some structure around electronics
Most teens get caught up in their electronics. Social media, you tube, facetime, netflix, are all ways that teens can get suckedup into electronics. This can be especially hard for parents as they want to find connection with their teen. You remember the days when you were their world. When you had those extra special times together. It feels like electronics and friends maybe took that place.
It can be a hard venture with teens but consider restricting electronics. This can be done in different ways. One way is to schedule family no room time from 6pm-8pm no electronics. You will get some push- back. They will be annoyed. But be real and vulnerable as to why it is you want it. You miss them. You want to spend time with them. No defenses from you. And recognize that even if they will be upset if you are consistent then they will get used to this new normal over time. At Simi Psychological Group we help parents set this structure in a way that leads to less turmoil. That helps parents be consistent. We want to help you set the stage for more opportunities to connect. Also how will reducing those electronics ultimately help your teen?
How Do I Get My Teen Out Of Her Room? Strategy #4: Get real and vulnerable
We can often get lost in our own perspective and feelings. When we do so we get stuck in all the “content” of what the situation is about and we don’t check in with the deeper or real stuff. The reality is that it is the deeper real stuff that leads to true intimacy and connection. For instance, when you find yourself irritable with your teen for responding to you in only one word answers what is really upsetting you? How does it differentiate from what you say to them or the reaction you have? Underneath maybe it’s “I’m sad” “I’m lonely” or “I’m scared to lose my little girl.” When you are vulnerable with yourself and with your teen you allow much more room for connection and less irritability and reactivity.
Our psychologists in Simi Valley can help you and your teen in online therapy or teen therapy do exactly this.
Get to the root of what is really happening and communicate the real stuff. Getting to the root and communicating the real stuff can feel scary. This is outside one’s comfort zone. Once we learn to tolerate outside our comfort zone stuff more and more often it feel less scary.; Ultimately it feels growing and inspiring as this is how you change, grow and develop true intimacy with those you love.
All in all there are ways to help your teen get out of her room when you allow yourself the space to do different things. And it’s not different for a one time go. It’s a consistent attempt at change. And when something doesn’t work allowing yourself to pivot to another change rather than just going back to your comfort zone.
I specialize in working with anxiety and in helping adolescents and their families, adults, and couples better their relationships and find direction. Rather than shy away from the tough stuff in life, I prefer to face it head-on, together. I believe that challenges are part of being human and that everyone has the potential to become their own life’s navigator. So they never have to feel out of control or at the mercy of their circumstances. Learn more
Therapy services offered at Simi Psychological Group
At our mental health therapy practice in Simi Valley, Ca we offer Child therapy and family counseling, Teen therapy, Anxiety Treatment, Depression Therapy, Marriage Counseling, and Neuropsychological Testing.