Looking for ways to build a relationship with your teenager? These tips will help you learn how to bond with your teen and do more than survive the teenage years.
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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.
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 don’t have one at all.
My goal as a mom is not to be my daughter’s best friend – but to have a healthy and positive relationship with open lines of communication and a strong bond.
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.”
That’s scary, because we all make mistakes.
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. We don’t have much time left to work on building a meaningful relationship that will last into adulthood, so I’ve put together a list of 26 Ways to Build a Lifelong Relationship With Your Teenager.
Starting with the ways we sabotage our relationships – with our words.
15 Ways You May Be Sabotaging Your Relationship With Your Teenager
- Saying: You’re Too Young to Understand
- Saying: Get Over It
- Saying: Because I Said So
- Saying: You Don’t Know What Real Stress Is
- Saying: Stop Being So Dramatic
- Saying: You Should Try Harder
- Saying: You are so ungrateful
- Saying: That’s life
- Asking: Are You Seriously Going To Wear That Out In Public?
- Asking: Asking a million questions when they get home from school & getting mad when they don’t want to talk
- Asking: What Is Your Problem?
- Doing: Making everything into a “life lesson.”
- Doing: Making fun of them in public
- Doing: Sharing embarrassing stories about them in public – in front of their friends
- Doing: Never admitting you’re wrong
Ok. 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 and casual. Announcing It’s Bonding Time will not go over well:)
Ways To Bond With Your Teenager
1. 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.
2. Find A Similar Interest
Try to find something that you both enjoy and do it together. When teenagers are in a relaxed environment, they share more.
You know, on their own terms.
Shopping does the trick over at my house. Sure, the ride to the mall may not be pleasant since we live over an hour away. 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 – without asking a single question.
3. Start Texting
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.)
4. Volunteer Together
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. She didn’t want to do it at first, but it has become a tradition and one of our favorite things to do together around the holidays.
5. Watch A Movie (At the Theater)
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.
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!
7. Start a Conversation (Unrelated To Grades, Gossip & Chores)
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.
- A Sweet Memory from Childhood- Get Out the Scrapbook!
- A Funny Memory from Your High School Days-Get Out Your Old Yearbooks & Show off your big 80’s hair
- Anything Funny-YouTube Videos!
- Your most embarrassing moment or moments
- How Nobody is Perfect
- How Much You Love Them
- How Grateful You Are to Be Their Mom
Final Word: Raising teenagers isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be “survived” – If you’re having trouble connecting with your teenager, try to think back to when you were a teen. How was your relationship with your parents? What could have made it better? Start there.
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