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Parents not spending time with me


These days my parents are not spending time with me like they used to. They’re always leaving me all by myself. Can you please shed some light on my situation?—Crystal, 15, WY

Shayna Answers:

Dear Crystal,

Your parents are probably not trying to avoid or neglect you. Rather, their behavior has probably changed for a lot of reasons.

First, your early teenage years are your opportunity to assert your indepen-dence and transition from a child into an adult. As Proverbs 22:6 says, it’s your parents’ job to instill values, morals, and a knowledge of God in you. But as you grow into being an adult, it’s show-time! You have to figure out how to use their guidance when they aren’t around or telling you what to do.

Your parents’ subtle movement to give you more alone time may be an effort to help you make this transition. Part of growing up is becoming self-confident, making your own decisions, and learning from your mistakes.

Although ideally your family will always be a strong part of your life, it’s important to make good relationships outside of your family and to forge your own walk with God. To facilitate this process, your parents have to give you room to grow—even when you think you aren’t ready yet or don’t want them to.

If you have an older sibling who approached their teen years with the opposite attitude of yours—demanding his or her independence to the exclusion of your parents’ desire for a relationship—your parents might be doing what they think you want them to do.

The only way they’ll know that you want to maintain your close relationship with them is if you tell them. They’ll likely be thrilled.

Regardless of what else is motivating them, your parents may also just want some time to themselves. It’s not that they find you annoying or bothersome, but it’s important for the stability of their own marriage that they be able to spend time together alone.

As you start making your transition out of the house, your parents have to start making the transition back to life the way it started out—without you. By the time you finish college, your parents might be doing things like going on vacations, buying a boat, or finally moving into a dream home—all without you. Their behavior doesn’t mean that they love you less or don’t want to spend time with you. Their relationship with each other is as important as it is with you.

In 1 Corinithians 13 Paul talks about growing up spiritually. Among the things he says is that when he was a child, he “reasoned like a child” (verse 11). One of the reasons that being a teen-ager is so hard is you don’t always see the perspective of everyone else around you.

Although your parents’ behavior seems thoughtless now, there will probably come a time when you think they’re being ridiculous and overprotective. Then you’ll understand their actions, because you want your time alone too. In the meantime, maintaining open communication will help to ensure that both your needs and your parents’ needs are met. Don’t be afraid to spread your wings in the process. There’s no better time to get to know your Heavenly Parent than right now.

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