The snow is gone. The sun is shining. It’s time for a little spring cleaning…. yes, even in our relationships with our teens. Time to blow out the cobwebs and think about what can we do to renew and strengthen our connection. Even though they are developing more autonomy, being strongly connected to family is a foundation for their resiliency. Connection matters.
Head into spring thinking about these four ways to be more intentional about your relationship with your teen.
Intentional “chill” moments
One of the silver linings of the pandemic was the slowing down of society. Everything was moving so fast but the slow down gave us more time with our loved ones. Busy schedules and rushing from one thing to another makes connection difficult. As the world starts to pick back up make sure you intentionally plan for those moments where you slow down so you and your teen can connect without pressure. Consider ways to slow down and be together. Maybe you could try:
Find something you both enjoy that brings some calm and pleasurable time without any pressure. Make it a regular date on the calendar that you can both look forward to.
Part of our job as parents is to guide and advise our teens, but a really important piece of parenting is listening. Our teens need to be heard. Sometimes, we need to create space to hear their heart, to hear their hurts, to hear their thoughts, to hear their dreams…. Validating and recognizing what it’s like for them is a key to help them grow in emotional intelligence. But, we can’t recognize and validate emotions if we haven’t really heard. Make sure you listen and learn more than you speak and direct. Use your voice far less than you use your ears. Be their sounding board. Advice is great but not if you haven’t connected first with their heart and understood what it’s like to be them.
What does your teen love? Where do they struggle? Who is in their inner circle? Show interest in those things. Open your house and your family to experience the people or things your teen loves. Think about where you see health and growth, and think about ways you can help create opportunity and encourage those areas.
Fun is defined differently by everyone. Figure out what is fun for your teen and create opportunities to share in some of those experiences together. Is it project? Is it being active in nature? Is it cooking? Find out what brings your teen joy and laughter and find ways to join in. Be an enthusiastic partner. Keep it positive. Even if it’s not your favorite, being connected with your teen is worth getting out of your comfort zone a little bit.
Families that spend quality time together have better resiliency. Research tells us that teens who are connected with their families are less likely to engage in drugs, alcohol, and criminal activity. It benefits everyone in your family.
Use this season to strengthen your relationship. Having some chill moments, listening, supporting and finding fun will be good for everyone! Strengthening your connection with your teen is always worth it. Life is hard. But there are also moments of joy and laughter. Make sure your family finds those this season.
What are some of the ways that your family likes to chill together?
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