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5 ways to connect with your teen

Five Ways to Connect with Your Teen, mother and teenage daughter cooking pasta together

Strengthening the bond with your teenager is so important for keeping your relationship solid as they navigate those tricky adolescent years. Finding ways to connect with your teen helps ensure you have a relationship based upon trust and understanding. It’s totally normal to feel a bit lost in the process, especially when the kid who used to try to follow you into the bathroom now disappears into their room for hours on end. Still, there are some tried and true ways to connect with your teen in a meaningful way.

Five ways to connect with your teen meaningfully

  1. Listen: First things first, let’s talk about the power of listening. When your teen starts talking, really tune in. Set aside distractions, give them your full attention, and listen without jumping in with advice or judgment. Show them you care by asking open-ended questions and showing genuine interest in what they are sharing about their inner lives, relationships, etc.
  2. Hang Out: Spending purpose-free time with your teen is a great way to bond. Find activities both you and your teen enjoy, whether it’s cooking a meal together, going for a hike, or binge-watching your favorite TV show. These shared experiences create opportunities for laughter, conversation, and making memories that’ll last a lifetime.
  3. Respect Their Space: It’s important to give your teen the space they need to grow and explore their independence. Be clear in your mind what kinds of mistakes you feel comfortable letting your kid make (even if it can be painful to witness!) versus what mistakes could alter their lives forever with no chance of “undoing” the mistake. If it is not a life-altering issue – and most things are not – trust them to make their own decisions! Showing respect for their independence strengthens your relationship and builds trust.
  4. Be Yourself: Being authentic and vulnerable with your teen can help deepen your connection. Share your own experiences, struggles, and emotions openly and honestly (but only those that you have adequately processed so that you can talk about them without needing emotional support or rescuing – the latter struggles are for sharing with partners and friends.) This creates a safe space for them to do the same and shows them that it’s okay to be themselves, flaws and all.
  5. Show Your Love: Last but not least, let your teen know you’ve got their back no matter what. Offer words of encouragement, celebrate their successes, and be there to support them through the tough times. Your unconditional love and support are what will help them feel safe and supported as they navigate the ups and downs of adolescence.

Teenagers are delightful – and by listening, hanging out together, respecting their space, keeping it real, and showing love and support, you can build the foundation of a more grownup relationship between the two of you.  

And if that doesn’t work – contact our team of therapists. Our therapists are experienced working through connecting parents with their teens.

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