Involving Teens

“Involving Teens,” Ensign, Sept. 2003, 73

Involving Teens

When your children were younger, you faithfully held family home evening, and all seemed fine. Suddenly your children entered the teenage years, and things seemed to fall apart. What went wrong? Part of the problem is simply the age: teenagers begin to separate themselves in identity from their parents, and they are inclined to test and sometimes resist family time and traditions.

Knowing this, how can you continue to make family home evening a positive experience that involves everyone? Below are a few ideas to try:

  1. Let your teenagers prepare and teach the lesson. They will care more about the topic when they feel responsible for it. Suggest that the lesson come from appropriate sources such as the Family Home Evening Resource Book, Church magazines, or the scriptures.

  2. Ask an older brother or sister to assist a younger child in giving the lesson.

  3. Choose a topic and invite all the children to share something on that topic. They could use skits, video clips, real-life experiences, stories from the scriptures, songs—anything appropriate that interests them.

  4. Invite teen family members to pose a question about life or from their own gospel study. Then ask the family to study the scriptures throughout the week to find possible solutions; discuss their ideas at the next family home evening.

  5. Study your adult Gospel Doctrine reading assignment with your teenagers. Include institute manuals and other resources for youth.

  6. Study the missionary discussions together. Look up and memorize accompanying scriptures. Talk about how the discussions are organized to create an effective overview of the gospel.

  7. Select a Church book to read as a family. Read sections aloud each Monday night or assign individual portions to be read individually in advance and then discuss them together during family home evening.

  8. Select a book from great literature to read together. Great books can lead to many discussions of gospel principles.

  9. Choose a new skill to learn together as a family. Consider many options—furniture refinishing, computer software programs, or racquetball, for example. Or take a class together to learn a new language, and practice it together.

Whatever you share in family home evening, try to include everyone. Do whatever you can to keep this evening a positive influence, and your children will come to value your time together.

Darlene Young, Highland Third Ward, Pocatello Idaho Highland Stake

Illustration by Beth Whittaker