Simple Tips on How Parents Stay Connected to Teenagers

A young girl is laying on a couch with her mother.

It seems just like yesterday that your son or daughter was little and loved cuddling up with you every night telling you about their day. Now they are a teenager and you are lucky enough to get them to grunt fine at you when you try to ask them about school or friends.

The teen years are tough on both the teens themselves and the parents and it can be difficult to find ways to bond as your kids are really trying to find themselves. Luckily though there are ways to stay connected and it doesn’t require a whole lot of time or money.

Check out these simple tips on how parents stay connected to teenagers:

Make Family Meal Time Sacred

Family life these days is beyond hectic, especially when you have more than one child involved in activities. When you are constantly shuttling kids to basketball games or play practice, dinner time is probably a rushed affair most days. It seems like the days of family sit down dinners every night are in the past, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t play a role in the modern family. The whole concept just needs a little tweaking.

Try instituting a family policy that once a week everyone has to share a family meal together. It could be breakfast, lunch or dinner. The timing of the day doesn’t really matter as long as you are spending time together.

It is amazing what you can learn about your children’s lives during a family meal. Everyone is more relaxed and open to just chatting and enjoying each other. While your teen may grumble about these meals, you can count on the fact that they secretly enjoy them.

Do Daily Check-ins

You remember what it is like to be a teenager. You just want to be out with your friends all the time and not stuck hanging out with the family. As they get more independence, teens spend less time at home making it hard for you to know exactly what is going on in their lives. That is why daily check-ins are so important.

It doesn’t have to be a long conversation. Just make sure at some point every day, you talk to them to make sure they are okay. It could be right before they head to bed or during the day whatever works best for your schedules.

Make Social Media Work for You

Kids today and their electronics. It seems like they are always hooked on something whether it is a video game console, their phone or laptop. Most teenagers today have a smartphone and are wizzes at social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat so why not use that to your benefit?

Following your teen on social media can help you feel more connected to them. It is an easy way to see what they are interested in, how they might be feeling and who their friends are. It is not all about investigating them though.

While it might be hard to get your teen to have a full conversation with you face to face, you can have easy communication by sharing funny things of social media or commenting on their posts. Remember though that you don’t want to embarrass them on social media so make sure you think carefully about what you share with them and the comments you leave on their posts. For instance, don’t share embarrassing baby pictures or stories.

Find Something You Like to Do Together

Doing a shared activity that you and your teen both have a passion for can be a really bonding experience. Whether you love going to hockey games or the theater, it is special quality time that you never want to miss out on. Not only do you have those moments together to create special memories, you also have fun things to talk about for weeks afterwards.

The struggle can be real though when you and your teen don’t seem to have any shared interests. Maybe he just wants to play video games and just staring at the screen makes your head hurt. Remember it is your job as the parent to stay connected with your kids, so even if you don’t have shared passions, you need to take an interest in what they love to do. Ask your teen to show you how to play a game and let that game be something you occasionally play together.

It is always good to broaden their horizons as well so don’t be afraid to take them out of their comfort zone. Ask them to try something that you like to do as well. You both might surprise yourselves and really enjoy the new activities.

Say I Love You Every Day

Life can be cruel and we never know what is around the corner for any of us so we should never take our loved ones for granted. Whether it is in a morning text or during your daily check-in always tell your teen that you love them. They might act like it embarrasses them, but your love is what they depend on.

Never Give Up Trying

The most important thing is to never give up trying to connect with your teen. They can be moody and closed off, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want and need your love. They need the security of parents who love them and will always be there for them. That is what makes it easier for them to go out and explore the world more during these key years of their development.

So even if they roll their eyes at you and won’t give you a full-fledged hug any more that doesn’t mean that they don’t love you back.

Every day tell them that you love them and how proud you are of the wonderful young lady or young man they are becoming. Celebrate their accomplishments and be the one who helps pick them up when they fall. You need to be that constant loving presence in their life that they know they can always depend on.