Teens are difficult to connect with! We have compiled 15 easy ways you can connect with your teenager and strengthen your relationship!
How to Connect with Your Teenager
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Do you feel like it is hard to connect with your teenager? I admit that having a teenager is harder than I thought it would be. They are busy and have so many growing interests and social engagements that it can be a challenge to connect with your teenager! On top of that, we are seeing new attitudes and an increase in hormones!
Looking back on my teenage life, I am surprised my mom still speaks to me today by how I acted. I was defiant, mean, hormonal, and just plain rude. But guess what? My mom and dad (mostly mom) loved me through it all! She is now one of my best friends! I attribute our relationship now to the effort she put into connecting with me when I was a teenager!
Although your teen might be at a stage where you are scratching your head trying to figure out who they are, I will let you in on a little secret… Your teenager needs you the most right now! Connecting with your teenager is the most important thing you can do for them in their life.
So, how do you connect with your teenager? We have 15 ideas to Connect with your teenager today!
15 Ways to Connect with Your Teenager
Having family dinner is a must when you want to connect with your teenagers. This is sometimes the one time a day that you get to sit down with them and hear them talk. It can be difficult to find the time to do this, but it is so important. Family Dinner is non-negotiable in our family. We sit down and eat dinner as a family. This is not easy with busy schedules, but we have gotten creative with dinnertime. I’ll admit that sometimes we aren’t eating until 8 pm due to sports practices. But that’s okay with me because connecting as a family is more important than everyone eating a quick bite as they run past the kitchen. On those busy nights, we plan quick meals so that it doesn’t take very long to prep them!
When your teenager is scouring the kitchen looking for a snack suggest making something together. Or offer to make something while they sit at the counter and talk with you. Use this time to talk and catch up on their lives. Your teen will appreciate the extra effort you put in, even if they don’t say anything! It does not go unnoticed.
When I say it is time to go out and work in the yard, I get murmings from my teenager! But I have come to realize that after we get started, he becomes a little more pleasant. As we work in the yard side by side, he begins to talk. I just listen at first. He will open up about all kinds of things. This allows me to ask questions and have real conversations! Working side by side with your teen is a great way to connect. Try washing the car together or doing the dishes.
Serve together! The other day Colby and I were on a walk. Chase was up ahead of us and Talie was behind us on her scooter. We came to our neighbor’s house who had just laid sod. Well, it had rained and it was not laying flat. Colby and I jumped into action together to fix their new sod in their yard. 5 minutes of serving together connected us! Why do you ask? Because now every time we drive by that house he looks at the sod. He then will remind me of how we fixed it that day on the walk.
Serving with your teenager does not have to be hard. And it doesn’t need to take all day. Maybe it is volunteering together at their school or helping someone else for a quick minute. These small things you can do to connect you with your teenager.
Tell Stories of “Their Childhood”
Tell your kids stories of when they were little. Yes, I know they are still kids. But tell them stories when they were little. Pick up the photo album. Point out pictures. Share funny stories. Storytelling not only connects the two of you, but it also connects them to their ancestors.
Family Game Night
Have family game night! When I was growing up we had family game night and after game night we had late night Taco Bell Runs! I remember these memories! Create family game night with your teens. Play games that are fun for teens. Let your teen help you pick out some new games. It doesn’t have to be every night or even once a week. But, do make it a point to make once a month game night!
Communicate How They Like
Let’s be real with each other, teenagers love texting. So guess what that means? We should text them! Send them pictures, quotes, and play games through text message. Find a balance between texting too much and not enough. Allow them to respond in their own time.
Watch Movies or a Show Together
On the way home from a baseball tournament a few weeks ago, Colby said, “Mom, let’s watch a movie when we get home!” If you know me, you know I hate to watch movies because I can do so much more with those 2-hours. But I did watch with him.
Guess what happened?
My teenage son came right up and snuggled with me on the couch! That was a quality two hours of connecting!
Find a show or a movie that your teen likes. Suggest that you two watch it together. These simple moments make big impressions.
Go Places Together
Find opportunities to be in the car with your teenager. The car can be one of the best places to have conversations with your teen. I pick up Colby every day from school. I love this time with him! It is 15 minutes where I get to hear all about his day at school. Sometimes I only get those 15 minutes.
So, next time you are in the car with your teens put away your phones. Don’t call anyone. Use this time to connect with your teenager and talk!
Find Common Interests
Colby loves baseball. He will talk to me about baseball all day long. I am not so much a fan like he is, but I am learning all about the MLB (major league baseball). I try and learn some of the players and I know most of the teams.
Why do I do this?
It gives us something to talk about! I can ask him if the Giants are in First Place. I can ask who is pitching tonight, etc. This gives us things to talk about.
Finding things they like and expressing an interest in those things allows communication to happen. AND it allows you to connect!
Be home with your teenagers. If possible, be home when they get home from school. You never know when your teen will need you most. Yes, your teen is old enough to be home alone, but be there as much as you can. This makes it easy for your teen to talk with you when they are ready!
Let your teen know you are available by putting your phone down and really listening when they talk.
Recognize Good Choices
Encourage your teen to make good choices. When you see them making these choices, recognize them. Tell them you are happy when they do this. This encourages them to continue to make good choices.
Welcome your teenager’s friends into your home. Get to know their friends. Have snacks and soda available so they can hang out together. Make your home a place where your teen likes to be so they will want their friends to come over. Doing this will allow you to continue to connect with them and their friends.
Find Time For Just The Two of You
Find time to spend with just your teenager. Have one on one time. Go for a walk, grab a quick hamburger. Drive thru the drive-thru and grab milkshakes. Give them your full attention!
Always Say “Good Night” and “I Love You”
At the end of the day always say, “Good night” and tell your child that you love them. Even on those hard days. You know the ones where you think you just got 50 more gray hairs? Yes, even on those as well. Tell your kids how much they mean to you. Tuck them in and share those last few moments together. Tell them you love them, even if they don’t say it back. You NEVER want your teenager to wonder if you love them!
With these 15 Easy Ways, you will be able to connect with your teenager and strengthen your relationship with one another!
What would you add to the list?
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Michele is a Family Life Educator with her degree in marriage and family studies. She is a mom to 5 kids and loves helping others strengthen their families! When she is not blogging she is spending time with her family and running around drinking Diet Coke trying to get everything done!