Building a healthy and rock-solid relationship between parents and teenager is crucial. If you’re the parent of a teenager, you know what I mean when I say connecting with teenagers is tougher than climbing Mount Everest. While their social life is busier than ever, their time at home is spent on their gadgets. No matter how hard you try to strike up a conversation with them, you usually can’t catch their attention for long. Connecting with your teenager is essential for a healthy relationship for the future. Here are a few tips on how to bond with your teenager.
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Eat your meals together
There is no better time to connect than over a meal. Be it breakfast, lunch or dinner, make sure every member of the family sits down together for the meals. You may face some resistance from your teenager who wants to have the meals at his convenience. As a parent, you must insist on having meal together. This is an excellent opportunity for your family to discuss the events of the day and bond.
Show them you care
No matter how old they are, your children love the attention lavished on them. Tell them you love them. Make their favourite dessert or take them out to their favourite restaurant once in a while. Watch a movie of their choice together. They will appreciate these small surprises.
Do the chores together
Just ordering your teenager to clean up his/her room rarely gets good results. But, if you offer to help them with this task, it will be appreciated. It also gives the parents a chance to talk to their children and catch up about their school activities and social life.
Children often do not share their troubles with their parents for fear of being judged. Listen to their story and give suggestions. Don’t say things like – ‘When will you ever grow up?’ or ‘I would have never done something that stupid.’ These judgemental statements will discourage them from coming to you with their problems.
Welcome their friends
Friends are essential in every teenager’s life. Even more than parents. However, don’t think of them as competition. Be open to letting your teenager bring his/her friends home. Make them comfortable, offer them snacks, but don’t be overbearing. This is a great way to know more about your child’s friend circle.
Listen to them
Talking and listening are very important to stay connected. Pay attention to your kids when they want to talk to you. Don’t put off the conversation to a time more convenient for you. Teenagers are sensitive and will immediately take this to mean that their troubles are not essential for you too. Listen to them attentively, no matter how small the problem it is.
Appreciate their efforts
‘My mother never appreciates how much work I do around the house?’
‘You didn’t even notice my school project?’
Most parents of teenagers would have heard such complaints from their children. As parents, we tend to correct our children when they make mistakes while forgetting you appreciate the efforts made by them. Acknowledging their achievements is as vital as fixing them. Statements like ‘I am proud of you’ or ‘I really love the way you have decorated your room,’ go a long way. It improves their self-esteem which can be quite fragile in teenagers.
Show interest in their life
Ask questions. Show genuine interest in their passions. Whether it is a dance class or a game of football, talk to your children about it. If your child is interested in sports, watch games on the television together. Sharing their passions and interests can be a great way to bond.
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Get televisions out of the bedrooms
TV time together can be a great time to bond. So, get the televisions out of the bedrooms and into the living rooms. Watch the shows they like to watch with them. This will give you an insight into their interests. Share your thought and view on the shows with them. Teenagers appreciate genuine conversations with their parents.
Talk about your day
Talk to them about how your day went in the office. Share some snippets of something interesting or funny that happened at work. This will encourage them to reciprocate. So, you too will know more about them and their daily activities.
Don’t brush off their suggestion
Your teenagers are taking their first steps towards adulthood. So, listen to them when they voice their advice and opinions. Whether it a decision on purchasing a new television or where to go for the next vacation, don’t just brush aside their advice. They can surprise you with some genuinely useful suggestions which may not have crossed your mind. Following their ideas is a great way to build their self-esteem.