Is it okay for my son to spend all of his time in his room? These days, parents of teenage boys ask that question all the time. Teenagers are spending a lot of time in front of screens in their rooms, with less time spent on activities outside the house and more time spent online instead of in-person interactions.
Teens do require seclusion and a place of their own, particularly since more and more of them are spending time at home these days. It is not good for a teenager to spend most of his time at home alone, plugged in, and cooped up.
Why does your teenager stay in their room all the time
Strong need for privacy:
Teens don’t want us in their business, and it’s important to remember that this doesn’t always mean they are up to no good. Some parents mistakenly believe that if their teenager is closing her door, she must be up to something, but the majority of teenagers close their doors to do the same thing they used to do with the door wide open.
They desire to feel in charge
You have your little domain to rule once you close the door. It’s the same reason teens fight back so hard when we tell them to keep their rooms clean. “But this is my room.” Though their bedroom shouldn’t be one of many aspects of their lives over which teenagers have no control, it is still a valid point.
Consider carefully how much control you give your teen in other areas of their life if they are withdrawing into their bedroom on a regular basis. Do their younger siblings get to spend time with them? Do they exit the room into a safe space where they feel empowered to make their own decisions? Or turn it into a nag fest that makes them want to turn around and cover-up?
They might be struggling:
Withdrawing from family life could be all of the above, but it could also indicate that your child requires assistance. Other red flags to be aware of are:
- Self-esteem or self-worth issues
- Sleeping pattern changes – insomnia, hypersomnia, or interrupted sleep
- Appetite fluctuations – up or down
- Inability to regulate emotions such as pessimism, anger, guilt, irritability, and appearing to be ‘down’ all the time.
Here are some tips for handling a teen who never seems to leave their room:
To make this process easier, it might be important to figure out his language. What did he like about writing in the past? Sketching? Volleyball? Music, Cooking, Football? These could be useful intermediaries for getting access to his ideas. When a teenage boy is in what I refer to as the “grunt” stage of life, straight talk therapy can frequently be too painful and confronting for him. This occurs even in the absence of illness. Face-to-face “agenda” talks may be too triggering.
The previously not-allowed activities
Is there anything your teen hasn’t been allowed to do before because they were too young? Sometimes, the novelty factor of activities that were off-limits to them as children can be enough to entice teenagers to participate. Are there things they’ve always wanted to do but were unable to do because they were too young, whether it’s driving a golf buggy or watching a 15-rated movie on Netflix?
It just needs to be something they are finally mature enough to try; it doesn’t have to be a big task. What’s even better about it is that it brings them from the confines of their room.
Clarify what you expect from your teen
Make sure your teen knows exactly what is expected of them by being clear about the kinds of activities you’d like to do together. It could be something like: I’d love to go for a walk after dinner with you a few nights a week. We should all watch a movie together, would that be great? If so, what would be a good choice?
Give them the lead
As you can see from the above point, the secret to getting your teen back into family life is to give them the lead. Even though it may seem like your teen isn’t spending much time with you, they most likely think that the activities you used to do together are boring and uninteresting. Which is not comforting to a parent, but that is the reality. Ask them to make a list of activities that they would all enjoy doing as a family instead. There, meet them. You may find yourself watching movies or participating in a family video game tournament. The things your teen suggests may surprise you with how much you like them.
Provide a framework for electronics
Teens typically become engrossed in their devices. Teenagers may become addicted to electronics through social media, Netflix, YouTube, FaceTime, and other platforms. Parents may find this particularly challenging because they want to connect with their teenagers. You recall the times when you were everything to them. When you two shared those particularly memorable moments. It seems as though friends and electronics may have replaced that.
Limiting technology use among teenagers can be a challenging task. There are various methods for doing this. Scheduling family time without electronics from 6 to 8 p.m. is one method. There will be some resistance. They’ll find it annoying. But be honest and open about why you want it so. They are missed. You’d like to hang out with them. And acknowledge that even though they will be angry at first if you are consistent, they will eventually adjust to this new norm.
Involve a Counselor
If isolation continues despite your efforts, seek help from a school counselor or therapist. A third party can help uncover deeper issues your teen may be facing, like anxiety, trauma, or bullying. Teen residential treatment can provide a supportive environment if you are struggling with a teenager who isolates themselves in their room.
If other efforts fail, institute reasonable consequences for non-compliance with family time expectations, early bedtimes, restricting devices or activities, etc. However, never take away school, work, or social commitments as punishments. Consequences should motivate, not isolate, further.
When parents wonder, “What can I do if my teen spends all their time in their room?” It is a sign that teenagers need to leave their rooms and put down their electronics, and parents need to help their sons do just that by taking concrete steps. Encouraging and facilitating joining a place for troubled teens can contribute significantly to maintaining their physical and mental well-being, even though it might not be simple. The key is keeping communication open and showing them you’ll always be there – even if it’s just outside their bedroom door.
Key Healthcare can help solve your teenager’s attitude of spending all their time in their room; all you have to do is contact their world-class experts to suggest the best residential treatment technique for your teen.