The teenage years are some of the hardest, most emotional times in your child’s life. As frustrating as it can feel as a parent trying to connect with them, it’s likely that your teens want to have a connection with you—they just don’t always know how. Every teen is different, but the following are some ways that you can continue to connect with your teen on a day-to-day basis.
Start a routine
Tuesday family dinners, once-a-month game nights, tech-free family hangouts every other week—regardless of what your family’s schedule looks like, put something on the calendar that keeps a time for you to bond with your teen in the near future. Keeping it consistent will make sure it doesn’t interfere with any other plans (when they know it’s coming they can’t schedule over it) and gives you an opportunity to lean into time with your teen. They might even find themselves looking forward to it!
Get to know their friends
This is an important one that’s easy to forget about, but when you know who your kids are hanging out with, you get to know more about who they are. Encourage them to hang out at your house, or be open to driving them places when they need a ride. You might end up stepping in and preventing a bad situation from happening, or even growing closer to your teen in the process.
Engage in their interests
The best way to learn what your child is getting into is to get into it yourself. That means if your teen is listening to the latest pop album, you should listen to that album. If your teen is downloading TikTok, you should download TikTok. When you’re seeing firsthand what your child is engaging with, you can connect with the positives and be aware of the negatives. For more tips on how to keep up with your teen’s tech usage, check out 5 Healthy Parenting Habits For Your Teen & Technology.
Work to establish regular check-ins
Time can feel like the hardest thing to find when you’re parenting a teen. Take advantage of the opportunities for regular check-in times, like saying goodnight before bed, talking briefly before they leave for school, or when you’re driving them home from a sport or club. Use these times intentionally and consistently, so that your teen knows when it’s 10pm, they should expect a knock on their door from you and a chance to talk for a few minutes, or just to say goodnight. These touch points won’t always result in deep or long conversations of connection, but they’ll give your teen a chance to touch base with you if they do have something to say.
Connecting with your teen can seem overwhelming, but the most important part is to not give up trying. The relationship that you have with your child during these years can be bumpy, but they’re some of the most important times you’ll have to speak into who they’re becoming. Don’t miss the opportunity to make that connection happen.