3 Minutes a Day

This week’s Youth Culture Window article on our web site revealed some good news… and some sad news.

The sad news is that the typical father spends less than three minutes per day alone with his own teenager. (I’ve blogged about the decrease of “family time” before) The interesting twist on this, what I call “good news,” is that kids actually want to spend time with parents.

Here’s just a snippet of the article:

And this shortfall of face time couldn’t come at a more crucial—or ironic—moment. In a landmark study by the Associated Press and MTV, performed in 2007, researchers discovered that a whopping 73 percent of teens said their mothers and/or fathers made them “happy.” (No, that’s not a typo.) And when asked, “What one thing in life makes you the most happy?” the most frequent answer given was “spending time with family.” (Nope, that’s not a typo, either!)

You might be thinking to yourself: “Yeah, but that was three years ago. The iPhone was invented, and reinvented, several more times since that research was performed. Kids don’t want me around; they want stuff, entertainment, and whatever else my hard-earned money buys.”


In a brand new survey by Family Circle, 25 percent of teens claimed they wanted more time with their parents. In fact, one 16-year-old guy actually said, “I think it’d be cool if my parents worked less, just because I’d get to see them more.”


After reading these studies, I admit, I asked myself some tough questions: “Jonathan, are you really spending good quality time with your kids?” “Are you really much better than 3 minutes?”

It’s scary if you really track your time and write it down… because we’re busy, right? We all can probably list out excuses (let’s see, kids go to school, then water polo, then homework…). But busy schedules don’t trump the need for “face time” with our kids. We’ve gotta make it happen. Period.

I’ve blogged about the importance of “family dinners” before. In that blog I cite a September 2009 report revealing that teenagers who have fewer than three family dinners per week are more likely to get C’s and are more likely to smoke, drink and use drugs. Poignant stuff.

No excuses.

Parents, we need to make connecting with our own kids a priority. We need to be pro-active about it… or we’ll just be another statistic.

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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