My teenage son doesn't want to have dinner with the family because he thinks it isn't "cool." He wants to spend all of his time with his friends. Should I insist that he have dinner with the family, or should I allow him the freedom to choose?
Although teenagers should be allowed much more freedom than younger children, they still need to be connected to their families and parents still need to set limits. You can talk with your son and emphasize how important it is to you that he be there for meals. Perhaps you and your son can work out a "free" night or two of the week when he can choose whether or not to attend meals, but he will be required to attend on other nights. You may also want to consider allowing him to invite friends over for some family meals.
Source: Kim Leon, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and State Specialist, Human Development & Family Studies, Human Environmental Sciences Extension, University of Missouri-Columbia
Last update: Wednesday, May 13, 2009