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Therapist: Families need to carve out one night a week

In today’s world, families are constantly pulled in 1,000 different directions.

Things like work projects, sports and homework get in the way of “traditional” family time at home.

“I think a lot of people, with their busy schedules, aren’t sitting down at the dinner table at night, so they have to be a little more creative on how they’re going to see each other,” Garron Griffits, a family therapist, told News/ Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Rob & Karie on Wednesday.

In addition to being creative, family members have to decide they want to spend time around each other.

“I think the first thing they have to do is it has to be a priority,” said Griffits. “If it’s not a priority in their family, all these activities will get in the way and weeks and months will go by.”

Griffits recommended families pick out one night a week to do something, whether it’s taking a walk or going for ice cream. He even said watching a weekly TV show isn’t a bad idea, despite entertainment possibly taking away from family time.

“Families will get really into it and it gives them something to talk about during the week,” he said.

While those tricks may work, Griffits said it may be harder to reach teenagers, who are typically moody. He said the best thing parents can do to relate to their teen is to not force a conversation. Instead, talk about daily events.

But if the teen is ready to talk, Griffits said parents need to seize the moment.

“Parents will have to put down the remote, put down the paper; when that kid’s ready, you better be ready to talk or you going to lose that moment,” he said.

Griffits also said parents tend to approach teens to hesitantly and miss things. It’s normal for teens to recess a little, but if they stop doing things they used to enjoy to spend time alone, it may be time to worry.

“I think sometimes parents have to trust their gut a little bit more and their instincts and go ‘Wait a minutes. Something’s not right with my kid,'” he said.