Parenting: Keeping the Connection through the Teen Years
Keeping the Connection through the Teen Years
You and your kid don’t have to grow apart during the teen years. It is true that there is a natural drive for independence that you have to make room for. Yet, they are still in process into adulthood and are looking for examples. They have greatly patterned their life after you up to this point; it doesn’t have to stop. How? The greater the relationship (on their terms), the greater your chance to influence. Talk these through with your spouse. Print and then live them out to keep connected to your teenager.
1. Understand THEIR world
– Know their friends: schoolmates, teammates and friends.
– Know their music and entertainment—try to play their video/computer games, watch their Youtube videos and Netflix shows, listen to their favourite artist.
– Know their online community and favourite apps.
2. Make room in YOUR world
– Be available to chat anytime they are willing! Take it when you get it.
– Be home when they are home. They can’t connect in a vacant lot.
– Schedule in regular one-on-one activities or dates with each kid.
3. Find ways to CONNECT
– Find some neutral activities to do together. Even let them pick it.
– Be intentional about staying in touch—text and call often.
– You want to influence? Do it through relationship. Love, listen, lead!
4. SUPPORT their Interests
– Attend their games, concerts, dramas—whatever they do. Be there!
– Fund them, drive them and feed their friends.
– Ask engaging questions about their activities and passions.
5. Double your AFFIRMATION
– Encourage more than critique. Become their greatest fan.
– Love and accept them through their failures. Forgive and move on.
– Support their dreams and envision even bigger ones for them.
6. Maintain your AFFECTION
– Decide now to keep on hugging even when they are feeling awkward.
– Being with you—sharing your space—should be a safe place.
– Remember: No one is too old for a bear hug and a kiss good night.
7. DON’T PERSONALIZE their attitudes
– Teen emotions are all over the place. That’s normal with puberty.
– Your relationship can be a stabilizing anchor for times of immaturity.
– Don’t take most of their explosions personally, “It’s NOT about you!”