As a parent, it can be difficult to connect to your children once they enter adolescence. Teenagers tend to crave independence, which often manifests in the form of spending more time out with friends than at home. Many teenagers are reluctant to share their struggles with their parents, but adolescence is a difficult time socially and emotionally, and it's crucial that you stay connected to your children. Here are some effective ways to connect with your teenage children:
Follow Their Interests
One way to connect with your teen is to join them in an activity that they enjoy. If they've recently developed an interest in yoga, for example, attend yoga classes with them, or join them for runs or hikes if that's something they enjoy. The key here is to follow their lead; because teenagers want independence, your child is likely to be more enthusiastic about an activity, and more likely to allow you to join them, if it was their idea.
There's a reason that family dinners are an enduring tradition: it gives the family time to sit together and talk about whatever is on their minds. Even if your teen is usually reluctant to open up to you, insisting upon family dinners ensures that you'll at least engage in regular conversation with your child, even if the topics are trivial. At some point, they're likely to share some of their hopes or worries with you.
Just like adults, many teens attach themselves to particular routines or rituals that they find fun and comforting, so creating rituals that you and your teen enjoy is a great way to connect. Whether it be a TV show you always watch together, a monthly trip to the movies, a quest to find the area's best burger, or anything else you both enjoy, having a fun tradition helps keep you and your teen close.
Give them Space
While young children often remain firmly attached to their parents, teenagers need space. Take enough interest in your child's life and their activities that they know you care for them, but avoid excessively asking private questions, barging into their room without asking, or interfering in their social lives. By giving your teenager space, they'll understand that you respect their privacy, and will find it easier to treat you like they would any of their friends.