As your children grow up and become teens, it’s common that you’ll start to find it harder and harder to connect with them on a day-to-day basis, largely because they will be resistant to doing so. This is a natural thing; teenagers rebel. They are struggling to become their own people and need to discover themselves outside of the context of their parents.
Still, this can be a trying time for you as a parent, and it’s important to know that you shouldn’t give up or stop trying to find those important aspects of connection with your child. To help you in that endeavor, here are some weekend activities that can help you better connect with your teen.
Ways to Connect with your teen
Play to Your Teen’s Interests
First of all, if you want to connect with your teenager you really need to learn to do it on their terms in some way. Trying to force your teenager to engage in an activity that they really have no interest in isn’t a good way to start to get to know them or have them know you.
Even if they humor you and go along with it, there’s something about that that is only surface level. Because of this, you should find something to do that is really in line with your child’s interests, even if that means getting out of your own comfort zone.
Teach them a New Skill
Teaching your child an important skill comes with many benefits. For example, it is common for teenagers to lack confidence, and nothing really builds up confidence like knowing how to do things, because that is at the heart of what confidence is really about.
Nothing really connects you to your teenager like building their confidence. Because of this, it can be a great idea to take a weekend and show your child how to do something that they’ve never done before. Car-related activities are one great example of this. You can teach your teen to drive if they don't know how yet (take some blood pressure meds first LOL). Or you could show them how to change a tire or change their oil, which are important skills to know if they are going to own their own car.
This sort of goes with teaching them a new skill, but cooking is an activity that has the potential to be rewarding on its own terms, whether you know how to do it or not. Planning to make a hearty meal or delicious dessert together is a great way to work together with your teenager to accomplish something that has a clear reward since you get to eat the spoils when you are finished. This is also a good activity because it leaves plenty of time for personal conversation as you are cooking/baking.
Find a Creative Outlet
The angsty teenager is a bit of a cliche, but there’s a big reason for that. As teenagers go through puberty and figuring out their own emotions, they aren't sure how to process much of what they're feeling. Just like with moms, it’s important for teens to have an outlet. One of the most useful ways to find an outlet is to find a creative activity that they love to express themselves.
If your teen is angry often, think about the “why” behind it. I know, it's tough to understand the teenage brain sometimes, but are they mimicking your angry behaviors or are they truly angry about something? Meditation can help with anger management for all of us. Try it together.
If you can find a way to help facilitate this activity and be a supportive part of what they do, then that can go a long way to building lasting connections. For example, you could set up a drawing or painting day together. Or, if they are more musically inclined, it could be fun to record a song together. You could even take them to a play if they are more into performing arts. The possibilities here are endless.
Get Outside and into Nature
In today’s largely digital world, it is important for our children to find time to get outside. Taking a weekend hike with your child is a good way for you both to get some fresh air and explore the natural beauty that’s around where you live. This is can also be a good time to connect with your teen by having fulfilling and heartfelt conversations, as you see the beautiful world around you.