The 11 Best Ways to Connect with Your Teen
Teens need to stretch out and cultivate their independence, all while staying connected to us. If their job is to stretch out, our job is to keep them connected.
Connecting with your teen keeps your relationship strong, and it’s easier than you think. Your teen might roll their eyes at some of these ideas, but once they give it a try, they might realize they actually enjoyed it. And, despite any immediate complaints, they will likely reflect fondly on these times together in the long run.
- Cook Together. Invite your teen to help make dinner one night or breakfast one weekend morning. They can choose the recipe and the music, and you can get some much-needed help in the kitchen. Making a snack together works, too.
- Eat Together. Make a point of sharing at least one meal together every day. Use this time to share stories from your day, to talk about current events or upcoming family plans.
- Listen to Music Together. Ask your teen (in a low-key way) to play you a few of their favorite songs. Listen closely, and ask them to tell you what they love about each one. You might be surprised by how much they light up.
- Tell Them a Story about Them. Share a memory of something your teen did when they were younger. Every story you tell will allow them to develop their sense of themselves, deepen their connection with the family, feel your love, and know that they belong.
- Work Together. Chores aren’t at the top of anyone’s list of favorite things to do. But working together can make the experience more efficient and more enjoyable. It can also be easier to have a conversation when your hands are busy and you don’t have to make eye contact.
- Make a Date. Once or twice a month, plan something fun for you and your teen to do one-on-one. This could be going to the movies, taking a hike, seeing a concert, volunteering, getting a haircut or pedicure, going out for ice cream, or staying in and playing a game.
- Invite your Teen’s Friends Over. Invite your teen to have their friends over to your house as often as you comfortably can, allowing your house to be the hangout. This will allow you to get to know your child’s friends and to stay connected with what’s going on without having to pry.
- Be Honest With Them. Encourage your teenager to come to you for straight talk – and then deliver. Whether the topic is relationships, sex, drinking, drugs, or anything else under the sun, if they know you will tell them the unvarnished truth and offer advice in an adult-to-adult way, they will keep coming back for more.
- Be Available When Your Teen Wants to Talk. Although the timing may not be ideal, your teen may want to talk when something is bothering them. Setting everything else aside when they are looking for a listening ear lets them know how important they are.
- Just Listen. Rather than offer your own opinion or approach, try to serve as a sounding board and ask questions that can help them pinpoint their emotions and achieve greater clarity on the issue. Above all, validate their feelings and tell them that you love them and believe in them.
- Show Some Love. Keep doing all the things you have done naturally as a parent up to now. Tell them you love them.
Source: Mission Hospital | The 11 Best Ways to Connect with Your Teen, https://raisinghealthyteens.org/rht_blog/teenage-connection-the-11-best-ways-to-connect-with-your-teen | Copyright 2021 Mission Hospital
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