If the only way you’re keeping up with your teen these days is by spying on their social media accounts, it might be time to reconnect. However, reconnecting with a teen can be like trying to catch a deer with a butterfly net; it isn’t so easy. After all, they’re at an age where their main job is to distance themselves from you, consciously and unconsciously. As a parent, your main job is to ignore their eye rolling and simply do your best to stay in touch with them.
Here are some ways you can reconnect with your teen (and they might even enjoy it):
- Cook together– Have you ever noticed that, any time food smells waft from your kitchen, your teen will suddenly appear? Whether you make cookies together or teach your kid how to make your great aunt’s lasagna, inviting him or her to cook with you, side-by-side, provides a wonderful opportunity to catch up without seeming forced.
- Eat together– Even with busy schedules, families should try to eat dinner together at least three or four times a week (or more, if possible). Dinner time is typically the one time of day where everyone can relax and tell each other about their day. It may also be the one time of day where everyone’s noses are (hopefully) not buried in an electronic device.
- Keep each other posted– When teens are old enough to drive and parents are working outside the home, it’s easy to get out of the habit of letting each other know where you are and when you’ll return. Find your teen before you leave the house and make eye contact regarding your whereabouts; have him or her do the same with you.
- Go shopping with him or her– Nothing perks up a teen more than when you’re offering to buy something for him or her. Just be sure to communicate your budget limit before you go so that it doesn’t turn into a pouting outing. The same goes for trying to force your own personal taste on their choices (as long as the choices are age appropriate, of course).
- Create rituals– Even if it’s something as simple as Friday night pizza, create rituals to which you and your family can look forward. You might not be able to adhere to the ritual every week, but you can set guidelines regarding your expectations and their commitment (perhaps twice a month is mandatory). Someday, they’ll thank you for the memories.