ARE YOU FREAKING OUT ABOUT WAYS TO CONNECT WITH YOUR TEEN?
Do you know that there are simple ways to connect with your teen during the teenage years that actually work like crazy?
Because you know that a simple good morning is often greeted with a scowl.
An innocent how was school today is met with a scathing verbal personal attack that leaves you stunned.
You’re really desperate to bridge the yawning gap with your teen.
But just daydream with me for a minute.
Imagine how wonderful it would be to have your teenager returning your hugs instead of shrugging you off.
Or sharing the day to day events of his day over his after-school snack like he used to.
Better still, wouldn’t it be great to end the tiresome daily tantrums and anger?
Even better, imagine hanging out with your teen doing something fun? Heaven, right?
In this post, I’m going to show you exactly how to turn your relationship with your moody teenager from lukewarm to red hot.
It’s power packed with the action steps you need to take to make your teen your raving fan again.
But first, you need to understand why your teen acts as if you have an incurable disease he may catch if he is in the same room with you for longer than 5 minutes?
UNDERSTAND YOUR DISRESPECTFUL TEENAGER
Your teen’s journey to adulthood has no GPS. The route is instead riddled with obstacles such as:
• The frontal cortex of the brain is still developing. This is like the settings feature of your cellphone. It controls emotions and often causes teens to show poor judgment.
• Erratic hormones which bring with it anger and moodiness
• Constant comparison to his peers about his appearance, values, and beliefs, which in turn causes issues about confidence and self- esteem
Unfortunately, he is as prickly as a pineapple about any and everything during this phase.
So when you remind him to take his sports kit with, he feels you think he is incompetent. So he lashes out.
If you ask him about a grade in a quiz, he interprets it as a lack of trust in his ability to study effectively. A cutting jibe is a likely result.
Are you seeing the pattern? It is not that he no longer loves you. It’s nothing personal at all.
Your teen simply wants to be in charge of his own life and make his own decisions.
Your questions and reminders undermine this and so you bear the brunt of this misdirected anger.
HOW TO CONNECT WITH YOUR TEEN
Carl E Pickhardt Ph.D. in 10 Ways to Stay Connected with Your Adolescent in Psychology Today states clearly:
parents must remain an essential player in the teenager’s life during this trial and error process of growing up
What you need to do is launch a strategic attack to get your teen out of his room and into the fresh air with the family.
Let me break this down for you:
– Draw up a list of things that pique his interest
– Plan cool activities that tap into his hobbies and interests
Line up a program so power packed with adventure and excitement, your sulky teen will be begging you for more.
And, the more time you spend together the greater the chance to engage and interact with him.
But first, you have to spend time breaking the ice so that your teen
will actually do all the fun things you have lined up.
BEST TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL INTERACTION WITH YOUR TEEN
1. UNPLUG FROM YOUR PARENT ROLE
Now, this is important.
To maximize your connection, you need to unplug from your parent role.
Stop with the worrying, correcting, reminding. Suppress your instinct to right your teen.
He is working his way to adulthood as best he can.
2. GIVE LOVE AND SUPPORT
What he needs most from you in the stormy teen years is to be able to count on your unfailing love and support.
To feel like you are always in his corner no matter what.
Create a positive and supportive atmosphere so he sees the home and family as a safe harbor he can seek refuge in when he needs to.
3. PRACTICE ACTIVE LISTENING
- Active Listening is one of the most important parenting tools.
- To tap into this vital skill, learn to avoid multitasking while your teen is talking to you.
When you give 100% attention to your teen, it encourages him to open up to you.
- The more he talks, the better your understanding of your teen becomes.
You get a rare chance to find out about his interests, problems, relationships.
Active listening allows your teen to trust you. It may start with the trivia of his day but may progress to seeking your advice on important issues.
4. STAY UP LATE
Create the opportunity for one on one time with your teen by staying up for a late night snack. Ensure it’s one of his favorite treats.
Being a night owl, he is likely to wander into the kitchen in search of a bite.
Share the goodies with him and he is likely to let slip a few details about what’s happening in his world.
Before you know it, your late night snack is likely to become a special time for you and your teen.
5. MAXIMIZE TIME IN THE CAR
Switch your favorite podcast or playlist off. The silence of the car ride and the lack of face to face interaction is the perfect way to engage your teen.
Allow him to guide the conversation. If he does not want to talk, comfortable silence also builds trust.
But use the time to bridge the gaps in your relationship.
10 PAINLESS WAYS TO CONNECT WITH TEENAGERS
This post gives you a few fun teen-approved activities to reignite your relationship with your teen.
Here are a few ideas to get started.
Try super thrilling sports for a new experience. Grab an inflatable kayak and go kayaking. Be daring and go white water rafting, surfing, or waterskiing.
Why not test your teens will power and determination? If he is wanting in these areas, this is a great way to build them.
Give swimming, cycling, hiking, and marathoning a try.
Water and endurance sports may need more time and planning to effect but they are activities your teen will love.
Perhaps a weekend away where your family could try out a few of them with the necessary guidance is a good idea.
Below are 10 simpler activities that may be easier to effect right away.
ACTIVITY #1: MAKE A SHORT MOVIE
Is your teen like all teens constantly taking selfies and making videos and uploading them to Social Media?
Why not make a mobile film? Check out this example of an award-winning Mobile Film:
Making a mobile film is inexpensive.
Did you know there are smartphone film festivals? Check out the list of such festivals here.
Your tech-savvy teen is sure to buy into this one. One on one family interaction as you cover the basic steps to make a short cell phone movie.
The process of making the movie involves action. You know how notoriously reluctant teens are to make face to face contact.
But when they are fully absorbed in what they’re doing, chatting about the project is easy.
One thing leads to another and you’re sure to get a peep into what makes him tick.
Total collaboration on:
– Roles in the movie production ( director, cameraman, actors)
– Pre-production ( choice of plot and topic, script writing, location, filming times, characters )
– Production ( shooting of the movie )
– Post-production ( editing, adding visual effects, music)
Transform your simple mobile movie to a Hollywood stunner.
The idea may be to make a short movie but it still takes time, planning and best of all family input. An activity guaranteed to draw your teen back into the family’s loving embrace.
Perhaps, your teen may be so happy with the movie that he may consider uploading it to YouTube or entering it in one of the Smartphone Film Festivals.
ACTIVITY #2: CREATE A SIMPLE FAMILY PLAYLIST
This combines two of your teenager’s greatest loves – the cell phone and music. He is bound to do an excellent job.
Great family collaboration opportunity. Get together to compile a daily morning playlist to set the tone for the day ahead.
Have fun with the selection of songs to be included.
You may include a few nostalgic kiddie songs, upbeat songs to spur you on with your morning routine or a sentimental tune that’s played frequently at big moments in your family.
This project is sure to strengthen your strained bond with your teen.
ACTIVITY #3: GO TO A WATER PARK
Enjoy the adrenaline rush of a visit to a waterpark. Be reckless, wild, daring and fun.
Challenge your teen to the scariest rides and plot to beat him in the park challenges.
Let your teen see you in a non-parent role – shrieking with laughter, high on fun and just enjoying yourself.
ACTIVITY #4: ROCK CLIMBING
This is the perfect formula for teenagers – a combo of adventure, danger, and risk.
Visit a sports center or gym that has a wall for rock climbing. Enjoy role reversal here. You will be nervous and completely out of your depth.
But, you’re sure to get a unique look into your teen’s character – he will probably be helpful and protective while you climb.
You can bask in the knowledge that he will grow up to be a caring young man.
A perfect addition to your memory bank!
Sign up for a family surfing class.
Surfing is a blend of excitement, danger, and fun that is sure to attract your teenager.
No one is an authority here except for the instructor. This is a wonderful release from your day to day relationship boundaries with your teen.
All barriers are shattered in the effort of learning to surf. The exhilaration of actually surfing together is like a wellness shot to your relationship with your teen.
ACTIVITY #6: TAKE A FAMILY COOKING CLASS
Is yours a family of adventurous foodies?
Why not take capitalize on it by signing up for a cooking class to learn a new cuisine?
Think about discovering the secret to a spicy tandoori chicken, tangy sweet and sour Chinese chicken or traditional Italian lasagna.
It would be a wonderful voyage of discovery of a new culture. The whole family gains a big score for the memory bank through the simple pleasure of cooking together.
ACTIVITY #7: STREET TUG OF WAR COMPETITION
Nothing gets people into the mood for fun more than a team event. Try tug of war – a little known but really exciting sport- to enhance your family and community bonds.
Organize a street tug of war contest. Pop flyers into mailboxes inviting the neighborhood to the competition. Make the details clear:
– Number of entrants per team
Do try to get local stores to sponsor prizes and refreshments.
What’s in it for you and your teen :
– family bonding in organizing the competition
– the thrill and fun of taking part in the event
– a sense of accomplishment at the fun of a team event
ACTIVITY #8: VOLUNTEER AT A SOUP KITCHEN
It may be harder to win participation in this plan.
One way around it is to invite your teen’s friends to be a part of your family volunteering program. He’s less likely to feel self-conscious about being a do-gooder.
Volunteering at a local soup kitchen is a unique bonding experience. It builds desirable values in your teen like compassion and empathy for the less fortunate.
Serving the needy provides a great opportunity to shift your teen’s focus from selfish to selfless.
ACTIVITY #9: GARAGE SALES
Here’s an out of the box shopping venture.
Go bargain hunting at garage sales in your neighborhood.
Start early, trace a route, decide on a budget per family member and go shopping with a difference.
Why? Other than buying stuff at next – to – nothing prices, your teen develops money and social skills.
A secret way to weigh your teen’s character. Note his sensitivity to an owner of a keepsake relating the story behind it. Or the care he takes when handling the treasures of others.
Also, a wonderful way to meet members of the community who may also be going to sales in the neighborhood.
ACTIVITY #10: BOARD GAMES
Yeah, I know you’re thinking, ‘ Who does that today? ’ Dead boring, right?
Think again. Simple unplugged fun. Great way to connect with your teen.
It is a superb way to tighten the knots of your family bonds.
You can’t play a board game yourself. So straight off the bat, there is social interaction and cooperation with family members.
Endorphins, the feel-good hormone is released. So, there is shared laughter and fun over gameplay.
You’re left with a lingering happiness long after the game is over.
The course of a board game involves more than just gameplay. Often there is easy sharing of ideas and concerns. It is a great way to cement family relationships.
MICHELLE MYERS has a great post in Best Board Games For Teens – Ideas for Teens from Teens to help you select the best games for a successful games night to connect with your teenager.
Let’s recap. To boost your connection with your teen, you need to:
– Switch the always-on parenting role off
– Create opportunities to bond with your teen
– Take a timeout for fun activities to do with your teen
– Engage with your teenager about his interests
– Suggest activities around your teen’s hobbies and interests
– Be open to trying new things your teen’s way
This quotation sums up the difficulty of being a teenager.
Adolescents are not monsters. They are just people trying to learn how to make it among the adults in the world, who are probably not so sure themselves.
It is sad that through a lack of understanding about the teen years, many parents fail to bridge the gap with their kids.
I urge you not to be another statistic of the terrible teen years. Find ways to connect so you can share a rich rewarding relationship with the great adult he will soon be.
Do you have any ideas about making connections with teenagers? Share your story in the comments below.