Connecting with your teen can be challenging to do, and you are definitely not alone in the process. Take it from a mom of four who has been through all the stages. When they’re at the stage of their life when they really don’t want to open up and would prefer to spend as much time as possible with friends or online, it can be difficult to find ways to relate.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can connect with your teen – they just might require a bit of intention. Did you know that according to the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, young people who have a parent/guardian or trusted adult they can talk with are less likely to smoke, drink, vape, use marijuana, and have feelings of depression or loneliness? Making time to connect with your teen can have long-term, positive impacts on their health!
Now, I try to bond with each of my teens differently, as each child’s interests are very different. As a parent, you know your kids, their likes, dislikes, etc., but there is one thing that I do with each of my children — I take each of them individually to explore a new place.
I enjoy traveling, and traveling is something that I’m known for as I have a very successful travel and lifestyle blog. Believe it or not, travel is just as educational as any classroom, with hands-on, real-world experiences.
Explore A New Place
For a real bonding experience with your teen, consider taking a weekend trip – just the two of you. A quick getaway can be the perfect opportunity to grow closer and spend quality time together, and you’ll both have fun as you experience a brand new location. For an extra-memorable trip, see what destinations spark your teen’s interest and surprise them with a long weekend away.
I took my son to Germany for a one-on-one experience and spent an amazing two weeks with him. I learned so much more about what he liked and connected with him more than if I had taken the other kids with me. He could be himself, share his passion for science with me at a science museum, and chat freely while I listened to him.
I listened and asked questions (indicating that I was interested in what he had to say), allowing us to grow closer in those two weeks. When you have other kids who are sharing the spotlight, that one-on-one interaction is essential. Connectedness gives them that sense of belonging. I admit that I wasn’t as connected with my younger son as much as I wanted to be for quite some time. He felt that I was playing “favorites” and withdrew within himself. It also took a bit of therapy on both of our parts for him to now feel as though he truly belongs.
Now I’m not saying that you need to do international travel, but going away to a neighboring city or state for a few days or the weekend can certainly do the trick. Whether you take a trip, or simply spend time together at home, I encourage you to plan one-on-one time to go deeper with your teen.
Read also: Six family vacations your teen will actually enjoy.
Here are Five Ways You Can Ensure That Your Teen Feels Connected.
1. Show Them That You Care:
Listen, encourage and be there for your children.
2. Encourage Them to Reach Their Full Potential:
Set expectations and hold them accountable.
3. Share in Decision Making:
Respect your child’s perspective and opinions and involve them in making personal or family decisions that affect them.
4. Help Them Envision What is Possible:
Inspire your kids and spark their imagination. Help them get involved in programs that help them grow as people. Take them places where they can try or experience something new.
5. Give Them Support:
Help them to understand and work through their challenges. Have their back and advocate for them when they’re struggling.
With a bit of thoughtful effort, you’re sure to find ways to grow closer to the teen in your family. As parents and trusted adults, I encourage you to take small steps to strengthen your relationships with the young people in your lives. For more tips on how you can build stronger connections, visit parents.forwardtogetherco.com.