So your teen shuts you out of their lives? Maybe you’re not trying to bond on their level. Here are 5 ways to bond with your teens!
by Kimberly Pangaro | Kimberly is a mom of four daughters and the owner of the lifestyle parenting media company Atomic Mommy. When she’s not running her company or momming all day, she’s writing about family life. She’s been featured in Parents magazine and Voyage Savannah magazine. She’s considered to be an expert in parenting and entrepreneurship. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @atomic_mommy.
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Parenting is not an easy job to do, especially when it comes to parenting teens. Ask any parent and they’ll tell you that when their kids were little, life was much simpler. That’s because teens are in between being children and on the cusp of being adults. And because that’s what they’re going through, it makes it difficult for them to bond with anyone who’s not them. As parents, we often find ourselves at wit’s end trying to parent them.
In this article, we’re listing 5 ways you can bond with your teens, even if they’re more on the independent side.
#1 Don’t Talk At Them
Teens are not little kids anymore. By the age of 13, parents should have taught them all of the basics about being a responsible, caring, and respectful individual. Once the age of 13 hits, parent lessons should change to more of a guidance role. This means that rather than talking at them, you should aim to have real honest conversations with them about anything and everything.
If they’re being bullied in school, share one of your past experiences and how you handled it. Offer them advice and let them know they don’t have to use it. If they’re not doing well in school, offer to provide assistance in the form of a tutor or extra help after school, rather than grounding them. If their issue is more emotional, then opening up to them about a time in your life where you didn’t know how to handle your emotions could be a great jumping point.
#2 Give Them Their Space
If you want to bond with your teens, give them their space. This means that heated arguments don’t need to be continued for hours or days. Let them blow off steam, just like adults do. This will help them cope on their own. If they’re moods are strong when they’re busy or after a long day at school, then it’s best to wait a few hours before asking them a ton of questions or giving them responsibilities. Why? Because even you need a break after a long day at work, and school is work to them.
#3 Get To Know Them, Again
Your teens are not your little kids anymore. They probably don’t love their toys anymore and they’re probably moody about things they used to love. Maybe the clothes you buy them isn’t what they wanted. Or perhaps they’re just not into the family activities you used to plan for them.
When you start noticing these moments occurring, it’s time to reconnect with your child. You can do this by taking them shopping and letting them pick out their clothes. You could also try letting them be a part of the family-outing planning process. And if you’re feeling lucky, you can even ask them to pick out a family movie that they’ll actually watch with you.
#4 Partake In Their Fun Activities
I can’t stress this enough. Partaking in your teens’ activities, whether you think it’s fun or not, will show them you still care and will help them stay open with you.
When my third daughter became obsessed with Roblox, Minecraft, and Fortnite, I had one choice, either join her or get left behind. I chose to try each of them with her. I found no love or excitement for them, and I found it difficult to learn. When she saw I had hard time, she started teaching me how to play. And just like that, we were bonding over things she loves and I have never felt more connected to her.
#5 Let Them Make Their Own Choices
As parents, we are very accustomed to making choices for our kids. We do this in every aspect of their lives: clothes, food, play dates, after school activities, shoes, bedtime, and more. Instead, try letting them make choices that suit their newly developed teen personalities.
You can let them choose their clothes, what they’d like to have for lunch, what activities they want to be a part of, or what sports to play. When your teen feels like you trust them with making personal choices, they will see you as their go-to person for advice, help, comfort, and more. Rather than blocking you out of their lives completely.
If you want to bond with your teens, all you need to do is make an effort. That’s it. Your teens will notice your attempts and they can smell if it’s fake or not from a mile away. So, be genuine with your desire to bond with them and let them know you’re there for them no matter what!