“How was school today”
“Do you have any homework?”
“Is something wrong?”
“Nope. I’m going to my room.”
If you have a teenager, you may have had this conversation. Multiple times.
Sometimes it can be hard, but learning how to connect with your teen doesn’t have to be a battle. They are beginning to assert their independence, which is normal and good.
But just because they are learning to be independent doesn’t mean they’re ready to give up the guidance of their parents. Even when they think they are.
The good news is you don’t need to give up on your teens. You can connect with them, even when they don’t seem to want to connect with you.
Be Interested in the Things that Interest Them
To connect with teens you need to enter their world. It may not be comfortable, but your teen wants to know that you value what he values.
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of rap music, even if it’s Christian rap. But my son loves Lecrae, so I listen to Lecrae with him.
I’m also not a huge sports fan, but he loves soccer. So I frequently spend Sunday afternoons with y son, watching the Portland Timbers play.
I’ve found that when I enter his world, he’s more willing to listen to my parental wisdom.
Be Available (Even if You’re Tired)
I can’t count the number of times my eighteen year old daughter has wanted to talk right as I’m thinking about going to bed for the night.
Take advantage of those moments, even if you’re tired. The bonding that takes place between you and your teen is worth a few hours of missed sleep.
Teens don’t always like to talk, so when your teen asks to talk, don’t turn her away.
Let Them See You’re Human
One day a couple of years ago in a fit of rage, my daughter yelled at me, “You’re just so perfect! I can’t measure up.”
In that moment, I knew I needed to evaluate my parenting.
The truth is, of course, that I am not perfect. But I am private, and in being my private, introverted self, I was not letting my daughter see my flaws, my struggles, and my fears.
Our teens need to know we are human. They need us to be vulnerable and authentic.
Anyone, teens or not, can be intimidated by someone who seems to have it all together. Our teens long to see us as imperfect moms, allowing God to work through our imperfections. It’s how they learn that it’s OK for them to be imperfect, too.
Work on a Project Together
When my husband and I were in premarital counseling, our pastor suggested that we look for opportunities to work on projects together, as working together toward the same goal would bond us together.
I’ve found the same is true when it comes to my teens. If you’re having trouble connecting with your teen, try doing some sort of service project or Bible study together.
Work through a Bible study that appeals to both of you. Serve in your church nursery, volunteer at a soup kitchen, or help a neighbor with yard work.
Serving God through Bible study or serving others is a great way to help your teen get out of a selfish funk. It will help you get out of a selfish funk, as well.
Above all, pray continually about your relationship with your teen.
God knows and cares about your teen even more than you do. Pray for guidance in parenting. Pray for your teen to make wise choices. Pray that your teen will continue to grow in her relationship with the Lord.
The teen years can be challenging. But they can also be wonderful.
Your teen will notice the work you put into your relationship with her, even if she doesn’t show it right away.
Look for those opportunities to connect. Be proactive, be available, and pray a lot.
Even though teens are becoming independent, they still need their moms. Take the steps necessary to connect with your teens. You won’t regret it.
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This post was shared by LynnaeMcCoy, a wife of 21 years, a mom of three, and most importantly, a daughter of the King. On her blog, she loves to encourage women struggling in their faith and family life. Hop on over to her blog to download a free mini-devotional.