Ways to Strengthen Your Bond With Your Teens

There was a time when your kids thought you were the coolest human being on the planet. Often attached to your hip they wanted to be everywhere you were. Now that they’re older, however, every action made or phrase uttered embarrasses them and friends and technology have taken your place.

Though a natural part of growing into their own independence, the parent-child relationship during the teenage years drastically changes. While you want to give them space and freedom to discover who they are and where they fit in, you still want them to know you’re there and care for them. Below, is a look at ways to strengthen the bond with your teens.

Listen More Than You Talk

It’s in a parent’s nature to want to protect, guide, and advise their teens.  Yet, too much talking and not enough listening can cause a rift between you and your teenager. When they do open up to you, whether it be about how their day ways, the trouble they’re having in a class, or some personal issue, just listen. Hear what they’re saying acknowledge their feelings, and if they ask, then provide loving advice.

Do Something Creative Together

Teens are very expressive beings – even when they’re not saying a word. From the clothes they wear to the music they listen to, you can learn a lot about your teen through creative expression. A great way to build a closer bond with your child is to do something creative together. You can create graphic designs online and have them printed on to blank t-shirts from sites like ShirtSpace.com. Host your own paint and sip (with nonalcoholic beverages obviously) at home. Or have a dance party in their room rocking out to their favorite jams.

Invite Their Friends

It’s nice to get in some one-on-one time with your teen but inviting their friends along on occasion goes a long way. It shows your teens that you’re willing to get to know the people they enjoy being around. You can invite them on a mall trip, take them for ice cream, or have them over the house for dinner.

Show Up to Events

In both middle and high school students are encouraged to participate in activities outside of the classroom. It’s a great way for them to tap into their interests, talents, and hone their skills. If your teen is involved in an activity that hosts events, make sure you show up. Whether it’s an art exhibit, holiday concert, or football game, you being in the crowd cheering them on makes them feel good and builds a close bond between the two of you.

Eat Meals Together

There’s nothing like family meal times to connect with your teens. Even if you can’t do it every evening, try to have family dinners at least once or twice a week. During this time, talk to your teen about how their day was and share with them things about your day. These conversations may seem basic, but it keeps the lines of communication open and strengthens the bond.

Give Them Space

As much as you love your child, they’re getting older. They need space and freedom to grow and explore themselves and the world around them. The only way to sustain a strong bond with your teen is to accept this and give them some freedom. Allow them to go out with their friends, be okay with the fact that they’d rather sit in their room on the computer, and even understand that sometimes they’re going to want to hang back on those family events. In doing this, you earn an appreciation from your teen like no other. To them, it means you understand and for that they are grateful.

It’s hard to transition from parenting a young child to parenting a teen, but you’ll get used to it. As your child takes steps towards becoming an adult it’s imperative that you work to strengthen the bond between you. Though it may take some time and there will still be some bumps in the road, it is the bond that will keep your child grounded and successful.

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