Well, I know it’s my birthday and I am going to be seventeen, but I’d rather spend it with you. I mean I know you’re my mom, but you’re also my best friend.
I promise I’m not making this up, y’all.
That’s what my sixteen-year-old told me last week when we were discussing her birthday plans.
I felt like I was winning the lottery.
In fact, getting that kind of praise from my daughter means more to me than seeing that Publisher’s Clearing House Van come up my driveway.
See, I don’t have a great relationship with my mother. I really don’t have one at all. So since I became a mother I’ve been determined to have healthy and positive relationships with both of girls.
That’s why I stay tuned into their lives.
I’m not trying to be the “cool mom.”
I’m trying to be the mom that I wanted to have.
A mother who has a strong bond with her daughters.
Carleton Kendrick, author of Take Out Your Nose Ring, Honey, We’re Going to Grandma’s says “Strengthening your relationship with your teen during her adolescence should be your top priority…It’s your best chance to forge a lifelong relationship anchored in love and respect.”
Ultimately that’s what we all want, right?
But we make mistakes.
Parents get caught up in correcting teens because we are afraid.
We are scared to death that our teens aren’t ready to go out into the world as adults, so we focus on the wrong things.
We do damage.
Then we wonder why our teenager won’t talk to us?
You may be going through a phase with your teenager now. You may be doing some hurtful things that are damaging your relationship and you don’t even realize it!
16 THINGS TO STOP DOING NOW
You’re Too Young to Understand
Are You Seriously Going To Wear That Out In Public?
Get Over It
Because I Said So
You Don’t Know What Real Stress Is
What Is Your Problem?
Stop Being So Dramatic
You Should Try Harder
Tell embarrassing stories about them
Ask a million questions when they get home from school & get mad when they don’t want to talk
Use that’s life as an explanation
Make everything into a “life lesson.”
Make fun of them in public
Tell stories about back when they were a teen and totally perfect
Bring up that time when she royally messed up in Jr. High or 3rd grade-over & over again
Make everything about you
Never admit you’re wrong
Now that we’ve covered what NOT to do and some of my childhood let’s look at some ways to bond with your teen.
But keep this low key, ok?
If they sense any planning is happening you’re probably going to get shut down.
7 WAYS TO BUILD A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR TEENAGER
STAY UP LATE
We all know teenagers are night owls.
They. Just. Are.
Their reasons vary from having to complete homework to studying for an exam to Beyonce just surprise launched an album and Oh-My-Gah Mom I Have To Download It! !
When it comes to teenagers, there is no such thing as bedtime.
Why don’t you stay up late, too? You may be surprised what your teen will share with you while you’re just hanging out.
FIND A SIMILAR INTEREST
Try to find something that you both enjoy and do it together.
My daughter and I love shopping and makeup.
Sure, the ride to the mall may not be pleasant since we live over an hour away.
I’m a talker, and she’s a napper/snap chatter.
But once we get there, we always have a fabulous time, and I get the low down on what’s happening with all of her friends.
Most of the time I don’t even have to ask!
You don’t have to go to the mall to get the 411.
Just do something!
When teenagers are in a relaxed environment, they seem to share more.
You know, on their own terms.
If I were asking my daughter a million questions in our dining room, I would know nothing about her life.
Yes, I know this may not sound like bonding, but studies have shown that parents who text their teenagers have better relationships with them. One reason may be that teens are more likely to text on a subject they are too shy to discuss in person. (friendships, grades, money,)
HELP SOMEONE OUT
You can grow closer to your teenager by helping someone in need. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or shelter for the homeless. My daughter and I started volunteering at our local Operation Christmas Child when she was 14. It has become a tradition and one of our favorite things to do together around the holidays.
GO TO A MOVIE
Ok. This one may sound super crazy.
Forget Netflix and Hulu and (GASP) YouTube.
Get out of the house and see a movie at the theater.
Make it an event.
A change of scenery may be exactly what you need to bond with your teenager.
As in, exercise!
Oh, come on.
You can at least go for a walk!
I’m not saying you have to join a gym, although that would be great for your overall health and well being…Getting active boosts your mood and if you do a mood-boosting activity with your teenager then they’re going to associate you with an adrenaline rush, not a chore chart!
No offense to chore charts!
Yep. Just strike up a conversation without lecturing or nagging or asking a bazillion questions about her friend’s boyfriend’s Instagram post you happened to see yesterday.
Here are some ideas if you’ve drawn a blank!
A Sweet Memory from Her Childhood-Get Out the Scrapbook!
A Funny Memory from Your High School Days-Get Out Your Old Yearbooks!
Anything Funny-YouTube Videos!
How Nobody is Perfect
How Much You Love Her
How Grateful You Are to Be Her Mom