Building A Connection With Your Teen – By Michelle Arscott
Connection – The Heart of Your Relationship with Your Teen! – Written By Michelle Arscott
Parenting teens…, everyone jokingly shudders at the thought! For parents of teens, it certainly is new territory and quite different from any other stage of parenting. There are certainly some advantages, but it can also be a very challenging stage! Suddenly ‘your baby’ is storming off to adulthood with barely a backward glance!
You observe with fear, having tread a similar path, wanting desperately to shout out the pitfalls and protect them, but also wanting them to experience life. You want them to learn from their failures and for them to develop into their own independent being. Where do you begin? Simply, with the connection.
- How Can You Support Your Teen to Navigate Their World?
Many issues that teens face can be exacerbated by them feeling disconnected. Things like addiction and anxiety are more likely to occur if teens feel isolated and distanced from others. The amount of time, teens spend on social media does not help either. Statistics show that ‘generation Z’ spends less time in face-to-face interaction than previous generations. When teenagers feel a disconnect, they are more likely to fill the void through other means, legal or not! (The New Adolescence, Dr Christine Carter, 2020)
- How Can You Increase Connection in Your Teen’s Life?
1. Connect with Your Teen
Every day, even if you are working, find 10 minutes of your time to connect, ideally face-to-face. If that is difficult, perhaps due to travel or work commitments, maybe connect virtually. You could also try using a ‘teen and parent journal’, where each day, you write to each other your questions and answers-within a 24 hours framework. The journal is confidential between you both and kept in an agreed private space. You might ask, ‘How was your day?’, ‘What were your wins?’ Another option would be to do this activity on a
whiteboard pinned on a wall, however, the journal version gives you both more privacy and intimacy.
Another suggestion is to have regular dates with your teen. It could be something as simple as going to the cinema and having a pizza, or movie night at home, or something more daring like zip lining in the forest or running a 10k race together!
2. Connect with Their Friends and Their Parents
Invite their friends around, have an open-door policy, be the host for them at a teen dinner party with all the trimmings!
Know your teen’s friend’s parents. To connect, if you don’t already know them, you could make an extra effort to attend school socials, or organise one yourself. Have family dates! Knowing your teen’s friends and their parents have so many benefits, including being able to easily check if your teen really is at a supervised sleepover, and in particular, knowing that their parents are responsible parents with values aligned to your own.
3. Connect with Their World
Keep up with the latest trends, attend school parent workshops or if your school doesn’t have one, suggest one or organise private ones with other parents. Attend online parenting courses, read the latest books and articles on raising teens.
A great website that keeps you informed around media is Commonsensemedia.org. It offers an amazing plethora of information, the most relevant section being an extensive parenting guide on the latest games and apps that ‘generation Z’ are using. Don’t forget you can also ask your teen about their world! Be aware of the good and dark side of their life, after all, knowledge is power
4. Connect with Yourself
To ensure that you have the energy to be the best parent you can be, to be patient and understanding as your teen makes the sometimes painful and awkward transition to adulthood, you must look after yourself. You really cannot pour from an empty cup, so prioritise your own self-care and love. Not only is this being a great model to your teen, but it also means that you can support your teen to navigate the obstacles of their world more
- Why Is Connection So Important?
Humans are essentially social beings and an important component of that is connection. Even though at times it can be hard to connect with your rebellious teen, it is so important that you persevere and that they always know that you are there for them, regardless of the situation.
You are the grown-up in the relationship and must take the necessary steps to forge connection, even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone and for example showing vulnerability to your child. This may translate to an uncomfortable conversation around a topic such as drugs or sex, or for you to admit to the fact that you were wrong or that you too are struggling. All these can make you seem more human to your teen and help to
deepen your existing relationship.
Think of the potential consequences if you don’t connect with your teen and their world and they decide to turn to other sources!
What steps are you going to take today to building a connection to your son or daughter?
Michelle Arscott – The International Adult & Kids Life Coach
The International Kids Life Coach
International Coach Federation (ICF) &
Kids Life Studio Accredited
BscEcon Psychology and Sociology
Building a connection with your teen is imperative & helps keep you informed about their lives. So start building a connection today
What are your thoughts on building a connection with teens? Do you have any parental challenges? Let us know If you have any concerns or questions about parenting, leave your comments below & our expert will get back to you!