If you are the parent of teenagers, you have certain responsibilities to enable your kids? busy lives. You can be a hero or a goat (sometimes both in one week) depending on how you perform these responsibilities, and it doesn?t matter if you were a hero last week (by remembering to go to your daughter?s afternoon game) if you are a goat today (by forgetting that her soccer practice ends at 5:00PM, not 5:30PM, this week).
While responsibility to remember information about your kids schedule is ultimately yours, communication tensions between kids and parents goes both ways. As a parent, I am often hearing about meetings, events, and meets later than would be ideal for me to plan them into my schedule. Kids are understandably myopic, used to seeing their world from their perspective only. They tell you they need a ride at 5:30PM today because today is the day they need the ride, not three days ago when it would have been good to plan your day around just such an errand.
If these are familiar tensions, you probably need a tool that allows your kids to keep track of their schedule, and allows you to peer into their schedules, and make their events your own, as you need to. Borrowing from the world of project management, centralized calendaring appears to be the tool for the job.?For example, you may not need to know the times for your son?s track practices, but you will want to note when and where the meets are being held so that you can attend and cheer on your future Olympian. Likewise, you may not need to see your daughters? tests on your own calendar, but you may want to be able to peer into her schedule and put her study rhythms into your own consciousness, possibly even to help her as a tutor or at least coach the night before the big test.
Calendar software such as Google Calendar or Yahoo! Calendar allow you to set up multiple calendars at your desktop and see events on your phone, and vice versa. They also allow you to subscribe to calendars maintained by others, such as your children or colleagues at work, and to view these calendars and events alongside your own.
ClearSync, on the other hand, allows you not only to see other calendars that you are subscribed to, but to add particular events on those calendars to your own calendar, ensuring that you won?t double schedule over a key game with an important company meeting. This is a feature missing on most calendaring systems.
If you are a coach, a troop leader, or other activity leader, help the parents of the kids in your program be heroes to their kids by maintaining an accurate on-line calendar that parents can subscribe to in just this same way. If parents are better informed, their kids participation rates will improve and the tension between parents and kids regarding their involvement will dissipate.
What is your experience of this parent-teen tension? How do you strive for ?Hero? status? Have you found tools that help you maintain smooth communication with your busy teens? How do you keep calendars synched when working on shared projects?
Note: The author of this article has no affiliation with any of the programs mentioned.