7 Ways to Deepen Your Connection With Your Teen
It’s not always easy to get your kids to hang around or to talk with you about all the things. Your family has busy schedules, friends, jobs, sports, homework – you name it. In the midst of all the stuff on your plate, how can you make room for quality time with your teen? Maybe this list can help.
1. Let them know their friends are welcome.
I mean, who’s not up for a party? Be up for a friend gathering for s’mores, a cookout, or an outdoor movie. Let your house be the place they want to hang out and don’t let money get in the way. If you can’t afford to supply all the food yourself, have everyone bring something. The key is to set the wheels in motion. As an added bonus, you’ll get to know their friends, too.
2. Disconnect to connect.
Multi-tasking is a major conversation-killer. For example, if your teen hates it when you talk on the phone when they are in the car, they may have a valid point. Who wants to feel excluded from a conversation? So, try to intentionally avoid talking when you are riding together. You know that little button that lets people know you’re driving? Use it, and make the time together in the car count. You have a captive audience and precious time in the car, so use it wisely. This goes for the dinner table and the living room, too.
3. Respect their space.
It is key that you respect your teen’s space if you want to deepen your connection with your teen. If you have no reason to question their safety, please allow them some room to have their own thoughts, dreams, and goals. Give them the time and space to be a young adult. The more you crowd them, the less likely they will be to share with you or even spend time with you.
4. Listen to them, even when it’s hard to just listen.
When our teens hurt, we hurt. It may be easy to go into “Protective Mode” or “Fix-It Mode.” What they need is for you to listen and help them process — not take over, freak out, ask a million questions, or launch into a lecture.
5. Find out what they like to do and join (apps like Snapchat, TikTok, read the same book and discuss, re-decorate a room together, etc.)
This may not be second nature to you. You may find that liking a post or trying to keep a Snap Streak alive shows that you care (and if you mess up the streak, they’ll let you know, which shows that they care, too). Allow them to teach you a new popular dance, then dance with them in a crazy TikTok video.
6. Get into their world, even if you don’t understand it.
You may not be a big fan of video gaming, sports, or animé. You may even dismiss its usefulness in your teen’s life. However, those things have meaning to your teen. Getting involved with what’s are important to them demonstrates that you value their interests, so… value them. It may open the door for you to invite them to join you in things you do. They may actually shock you by saying “yes.”
7. If you bake it, they will come (and maybe even talk).
I have NEVER had my teens turn me down for a little one-on-one time if there is food or dessert involved. You may actually get more than a one-word answer to a question. This may look a little different depending on which child I’m wooing, for sure. It can be as simple as warming a pecan pie for my high schooler or as involved as cooking hamburgers on the grill for my college graduate. Once you find what works, it’s a win.
These are just a few ways for parents to increase their quality time with their teens. It’s important to make the most of the time that you have left with them at home. Before you know it, they will be off to college, military, or the work world.
Here are some other blogs that may help you deepen your connection with your teen:
HOW DO I GET MY TEEN TO TALK TO ME?
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY TEEN IS DEPRESSED?
I THINK COVID-19 HAS MADE MY TEEN HATE ME
HOW DO I STOP FIGHTING WITH MY TEEN?
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