As our children grow, staying connected becomes more important than ever. The teen years can be tough to navigate, for both Mama and child. Be intentional about staying close. They may not reach out to you as they did when they were younger, but trust me, they still need your input, attention, time, touch, and love.
10 Tips to Intentionally Connect With Your Teens:
- Put down the devices– this one is obvious. Mamas can be as addicted to that phone or tablet as their teen. Show them that you value their time and attention. Be fully present when you’re talking and spending time with your teens.
- Put aside expectations– every child is unique. Don’t compare, even within your mind, your child with his/her siblings, friends, or even yourself as a teen. Fully embrace your teen as a unique individual, not in competition with anyone.
- Focus on their strengths– what makes your teen stand out? What is their strong suit? Are they artistic? A technology whiz? An animal lover? Focus on those things.
- Don’t bring up past mistakes– we’ve all made plenty and don’t wish to be reminded of them! I get it. Sometimes, it’s hard to see a teen making the same mistake twice. But, think about yourself, do you do this? Have you made the same mistake over and over again? Do you want it brought up every time? I sure don’t!
- Find a shared interest– something that you both genuinely enjoy. This doesn’t have to be anything super expensive or involved. It just gives you something to do together, discuss, and enjoy. Time spent sharing a shared interest can lead to a closer bond.
- Focus on the positive– there is always, always, always something positive to focus on. Find that positive, even if you have to dig through a few layers. It’s in there!
- Stop talking and listen– as Mamas, we tend to run the conversation with our children. Teens are on the cusp of adulthood, let them lead the conversation. See what THEY want to talk about, and follow their lead.
- Allow quiet moments– silence together can be a good thing. My Honey and I spend a LOT of time together. We don’t talk the entire time. I think you have found someone you are most comfortable with when you can be together and not have to fill the space with words, yet still be comfortable. Try it sometime.
- Remember, not every moment is a “teachable moment”– as a veteran homeschooler, I tend to look for those teachable moments, for I feel that all of life is school, not just the book work time. But, not everything needs to be explained, expanded upon, or taught. Just BE.
- Begin shifting from parent to parent/friend– this is a time of change, for both of you. Allow them space to flex their new “adult-ness” while you gradually adjust to your shifting role.
The teen years do not have to be filled with angst and difficulty. Be prepared, be open, and be frank. As much as life is changing for you, Mama, it’s doubly changing for them. Navigate these waters with grace, love, prayer, and openness. I believe these years are harder, in a different way than the infant and toddler years. Mostly because the lasting impact is so very huge.
Do you have teens? Any tips you would add to this list?
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