7 Ways for Parents to Connect with Their Teenagers



Parents often dread the teenage years. It saddens them to watch their cute, little baby transform into a distant, moody, alien that they can no longer communicate with. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Parents can have thriving relationships with their teenage children if they do these seven things.

  • 7 Ways for Parents to Connect With Their Teenager 1 of 8
    Parents and Teens

    Click through to read all 7 tips!

  • Spend time together 2 of 8
    dad and son

    Many parents make the mistake of distancing themselves from their teenage children. The teen years are a critical point in children's development and they need parents to be actively involved in their lives. Make a point to have dinner together, play games, or take family trips with your children. Find an activity that you both love and spend time doing that. Although they won't always admit it, teenagers appreciate the time you spend with them. They aren't as embarrassed of you as they pretend to be.

    Photo via Flickr Creative Commons

  • Really Listen to Them 3 of 8

    The best thing parents can do to solidify their relationships with their teenage children is listen. As parents, we want to solve our teenagers' problems and give them advice. Sometimes they don't want our advice. All they want is to be heard - to know that their voice matters. If you take the time to listen, you can learn so much about your teenager. More importantly, your child will trust you and confide in you when they're dealing with major issues.

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  • Show Interest in Their World 4 of 8
    father daughter

    Do you know your teenager's best friend? Do you know their favorite band? What's their favorite class at school? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you to bond with your child. Even if you don't approve of their answers, they will appreciate that you took the time to learn about their world. When they know you're really interested their lives, they will be more willing to share things that they may have kept hidden.

    Photo via Flickr Creative Commons

  • Give Them Some Space 5 of 8

    As parents, we want to hold on to our children, but we have to learn to let go. Teenagers need space to explore the world and discover their place in it. Although it can be painful to watch them pull away from us, we have to allow them the freedom to grow up. 

    Photo via Flickr Creative Commons

  • Avoid criticism 6 of 8
    criticize teenager

    While it's easy to criticize our teenagers' choices in clothing, music, and friends, we must resist the urge to do so. Teenagers will shut down all communication if they feel as if their parents are constantly attacking them and their choices. Keep the doors of communication open by picking your battles wisely. Teenagers need acceptance and validation from their parents - not constant criticism. If you must criticize, be gentle and constructive and do it in a loving manner.

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  • Encourage Their Dreams 7 of 8
    girl in field

    Many teenagers have had their dreams squashed by a parent's disapproval. It's important that parents support their children's dreams no matter how wacky they may sound. The teenage years are a time for children to explore many interests. Ask your children questions about their dreams and offer encouragement. Your support will empower them to dream big and have the confidence to do incredible things.

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  • Tell Them How Much You Care 8 of 8
    father daughter 2

    When was the last time you told your teenager that you loved him/her? Teenagers need to hear encouraging words from their parents. They need to hear you say you're proud of them, you support them, and that you care for them. These simple words can draw parents and teenagers closer together. Use them frequently, but make sure you're honestly expressing genuine sentiments. Teenagers know when they're being patronized and will rebel. Speak words that show authentic care and concern and your teenager will feel safe, secure, and loved. 

    Photo via Flickr Creative Commons

Connect with Fred on his blog Mocha Dad or via Twitter. You can also read more of his posts on Babble.

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