Full disclosure: I’m not a parenting expert. Meaning, what I’m sharing in this blog is what worked for Bret, my husband, and I. We stayed quite connected to both of our kids — now adults — in their teen years. So, hopefully, our best practices will prove helpful for you — whether your child is currently a teenager, full grown adult or toddler.
How To Stay Connected With Your Teenager
I’ll begin by first explaining what it actually means to be connected.
Long story short, the child feels:
- the parent is available to them.
- accepted by the parent.
- empathy and compassion from mom and dad.
It’s a feeling of intimacy that goes beyond surface level conversations and interactions.
First step: Begin when they’re toddlers.
It all starts when parenting starts. And the key is to really listen and not just do the parent thing where we’re constantly teaching and trying to share words of wisdom.
Second step: Do something physical.
It can be so much easier to break communication barriers when conversing and being physically active at the same time.
There’s something about the distraction, the not needing to look each other in the eye… that just supports open and free dialogue.
Third step: Drive them around for as long as possible.
I have always found car rides to be invaluable. So, until your kids get their license (especially during their pre-teen and teen years), be the driver as much as possible.
Pro tip: No headphones allowed. And neither is being on the phone. I know that can be tough, so, at the very least, limit phone time in the car.
Fourth step: Show interest and listen.
As much as a teenager may pretend they don’t want to talk or be connected with their parents, they do certainly want them interested in their life.
Sure, they don’t love prying, but if parents can find the right subject and in the right environment — and just listen without judgement or a teaching lesson — then, there’s real hope for connection.
And remember, it’s about timing.
For much more on how to stay connected with your teenager, plus:
- What is supporting without pushing
- Thoughts on placing expectations on your kids
- My feelings on grades
- What it means to truly accept your child
Then, you must check out this episode of The Chalene Show now!
And don’t forget to subscribe to TCS for weekly shows dedicated to your overall personal development!