I know it's completely cliche-ish to say so, but wow...how time has flown. Each birthday celebration we reminisce, sometimes pulling out baby books and photos, recalling stories from younger years. It's hard to think that we've reached these years so quickly.
While my teenagers have had their share of bumps along the way, these years are some of my favorites. It's true!
But like all of parenting, connecting with them and loving them as teens does take effort. I'm finding a few simple habits helpful to our relationship.
I'll share, but please feel free to add your own:
A Dozen Ways to Connect with Teens
1. Before-bed Chats. A fast-growing favorite of my teen girl, I'm finding this time invaluable to hearing more of what's on her heart or her latest & greatest idea. Maybe you don't have a talkative teen, but making time & being available for this is an important part of the process. Who knows? One night, they may talk your ear off!
2. Work together or serve together. Choose a way to volunteer together, a project or cause you're both interested in (or simply one your teen finds interesting).
3. Have inside jokes. Sharing laughter is a relationship builder!
4. Affirm what's going well. Too often, the parts of our teens we know need maturing fill our hearts and minds. Remember to generously compliment what they're doing right!
5. Pray for your relationship. Throughout the week, lift up prayers on your teen's behalf. Pray for your relationship to grow and deepen. Little thing, but BIG impact.
6. Enjoy social media together. I don't necessarily hunt my girl down, but we've had fun commenting and talking about one another's Instagram pictures. You can learn a lot about their worlds in these conversations!
7. Think small. Small & simple gifts that is...little items you know will make them smile. Especially if this is your child's love language, be on the lookout for ways to bless them. My daughter is happy when I bring her little things like mechanical pencils -- they're her favorite!
8. Play together. Definitely don't make it all about the work - homework, housework, jobs, etc. Find ways to relax together, ones they'll enjoy. If you're unsure what those are, ask your teen!
9. Treasure their thoughts and ideas. Listen intentionally and with care to all they choose to share.
10. Take a coffee break together...or a tea, latte, cocoa break. A few minutes prepping their favorite hot drink (if there is one) and offering conversation is a great connector. It doesn't have to be serious or long, a few minutes goes a long way.
11. Hug them. Regardless of what they say, it's true we all, including teenagers!, need human touch. Go for quick squeezes, a side hug, or whatever seems comfortable. Definitely steer from a public display if this bothers them.
12. Tell them something important. Our teens are no longer little kids, and while we still need to protect their hearts, they're ready for more. Share a bit of your story or history, a lesson you've learned, or how you wrestled with a decision.
Relationship-building isn't always easy work, but honoring our teens' place in the family and in our lives will certainly help.
Any other tips you would add?
Post written by Daniele of Domestic Serenity