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10 Powerful Ways To Reconnect With Your Teen And Strengthen Your Relationship
As parents, we all want to have a strong and loving relationship with our teenagers. However, as they grow older and become more independent, it can be challenging to find common ground and keep the lines of communication open. That’s why taking intentional steps to reconnect with your teen and foster a positive relationship is so important.
The teenage years can be a challenging time for both parents and adolescents. It’s a time when your child is going through various changes physically and emotionally, which can cause stress and tension in your relationship.
As a result, you may feel like you’re losing touch with your child, who once loved spending time with you and wasn’t embarrassed to be seen with you. If you’re in a similar situation, don’t despair. It’s never too late to reach out and try new ways to connect with your teenager. By making an effort to prioritize your relationship and show your teen that you care, you can build a foundation of trust and love that will last for years to come.
In this blog, we explore 10 powerful ways to reconnect with your teenager and strengthen your relationship, providing you with practical tools to handle this difficult period.
1. Show Love Often While Also Allowing Them Adequate Space.
Regularly expressing love and appreciation towards your teen can profoundly impact their emotional well-being and development. It is a simple way to reconnect with your teen, yet many parents overlook it, especially when your teen seems not to enjoy the affection. However, it is still important to let them know you love and support them.
Many teenagers go through a phase where they may feel neglected and unloved. During this phase, it becomes even more important to express your love to them regularly. Telling your teen you love them often can make them feel valued, secure, and confident.
Frequently telling your teenager you love them is crucial as it gives them someone to trust and teaches them that they are valuable. Showing your teen that you love them helps to build a relationship of trust between you and your teen. Knowing they are loved unconditionally assures them they have someone to rely on.
To connect with your teenager, tell them they are loved. By expressing your love verbally and through actions, you can create a positive environment where your teenager feels loved, supported and valued. Moreover, expressing love towards your teen helps them recognize their self-worth beyond what they accomplish.
2. Listen actively: Give your teen your full attention when they are talking to you.
Active listening is critical when it comes to effective communication and trying to reconnect with your teen. Giving them your undivided attention when they are talking to you shows that you value their thoughts and feelings. This can help strengthen your relationship and foster trust between you and your teen.
Body language plays a crucial role in active listening as well. Maintaining eye contact, nodding, and leaning in can signal to your teen that you are fully engaged in the conversation. Avoiding distractions, such as checking your phone or watching TV while you speak, is equally important.
Refraining from interrupting or jumping to conclusions when listening to your teen is equally essential. Let them finish expressing themselves before responding. Paraphrasing what they said back to them can also show that you understand their message and care about what they’re saying.
By practising active listening with your teen, you’re showing them respect and modelling healthy communication skills for the future. When teens feel heard and validated by their parents or caregivers, they are more likely to open up and seek guidance when faced with challenges or difficult situations. You will connect with your teen when they feel you are a safe place for them to open up to.
3. Avoid criticism: Focus on the positive things your teen is doing rather than criticizing what they’re not doing or could do better.
As parents, it’s easy to fall into the trap of criticizing our teenagers. We may believe we’re helping them by pointing out what they’re doing wrong or how they could improve. However, criticism can harm their self-esteem and lead to resentment towards us. Instead of focusing on the negatives, we should highlight the positives to reconnect with your teen.
Two studies conducted on the effects of parental praise and criticism found the way parents praised their children was related to how their children set goals for learning. If parents gave positive praise, the children were likelier to have good learning goals. On the other hand, if parents criticized their children, they were less likely to believe they could improve and learn better.
However, avoiding criticism doesn’t mean ignoring lousy behaviour or letting our teens off the hook when they make mistakes. We should focus on positive reinforcement and constructive feedback instead of negativity. We can help our teenagers feel valued and motivated to continue doing well by highlighting the positives.
Positive reinforcement can go a long way in shaping behaviour and building confidence. One way to do this is by giving praise when it’s due. If your teen cleans up after themselves without being asked, tell them you appreciate their responsibility. If they get a good grade on a test, congratulate them on their hard work paying off.
Another approach is to acknowledge effort rather than results. Maybe your teen didn’t make the first team in their sport, but they worked hard during practice and improved their skills. Let them know you see how much effort they put in and that you’re proud of them. Focusing on progress instead of results helps teens to understand that success requires consistent effort.
When teens are solely praised for their achievements, they may become discouraged or disheartened when they don’t achieve them. Acknowledging their efforts and progress encourages them to keep trying even if they don’t always reach their goals.
It also helps them recognize that every step towards their goal is a success and motivates them to continue working towards it. This helps build grit and resilience and increases their confidence and self-belief. This is essential to the 9 Scholar Success Habits Framework we teach at GT Scholars. This free expert-led parent webinar will help you discover the 9 Scholar Success Habits.
4. Offer growth opportunities: Encourage your teen to try new things and take on challenges.
Adolescence is a critical development period, and offering growth opportunities can help your teen build confidence, develop new skills, and discover their interests. Encouraging your teen to try new things and take on challenges is one of the best ways to foster growth. You can start by asking your teen about their hobbies or interests and help them explore options that align with those activities. This will help show your teen you are interested in their lives and help you reconnect with them on a deeper level.
However, growth doesn’t always come easy; sometimes, it requires stepping outside our comfort zones. Encourage your teen to push themselves beyond what they think they can. Let them know you believe in their abilities and give them space to figure things out independently. If your teen struggles with a particular activity or challenge, offer guidance and support without being too pushy.
One way of encouraging your teens to do difficult things and push themselves to grow is to help them develop a growth mindset. A growth mindset is about believing that one’s intelligence, talents, and abilities can be constantly improved through hard work, dedication, and effort.
Teaching your teen about the power of a growth mindset can be incredibly beneficial. It can help them to approach challenges with enthusiasm and perseverance rather than fear or defeatism. It can also help them to embrace failure as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Encouraging a growth mindset might involve praising your teen’s effort rather than their natural ability. For example, instead of saying, “You’re so smart” after they get an A on a test, you could say, “I’m proud of how hard you worked”. You could also encourage your teen to stretch themselves by taking on new challenges and trying things outside their comfort zone.
By helping your teens develop a growth mindset, you can equip them with the tools they need to reach their full potential and thrive in all areas of life. You can learn more about developing a growth mindset in your teen by reading our blog here.
5. Celebrate their small wins: Celebrate milestones and accomplishments, no matter how small.
Celebrating successes is the best part of any endeavour. It’s finally getting to enjoy the reward of all the hard work. However, it is equally important to take the time to acknowledge your teen’s achievements, no matter how small they may seem. Celebrating and acknowledging their small wins is a great way to reconnect with your teen.
Celebrating the small wins can boost morale and encourage continued progress in your teen. Recognizing and appreciating their efforts and hard work shows them that their accomplishments matter to you. This builds their confidence and motivates them to set and achieve even more goals.
Celebrating your teen’s milestones is an excellent way to encourage positive behaviour. It demonstrates that they can achieve great things, whether small or big. For instance, celebrating when they perform well in school or accomplish a challenging task can inspire them to continue striving for excellence. Additionally, celebrating milestones gives your teenager a sense of accomplishment, which is crucial for their emotional and mental well-being.
Also, celebrating milestones with your teen creates lasting memories they will cherish for years. These memories will be a source of joy and happiness for you and your child while strengthening your bond as parent and child.
You may be thinking does that mean I have to throw a big party or spend lots of money on a gift for my teen every time they accomplish something? Not necessarily. It can be as simple as taking a moment to reflect on all that they have accomplished so far and expressing gratitude for the effort that has been put in.
Celebrating your teenager’s milestones, regardless of size, can go a long way in boosting their self-esteem. By acknowledging achievements along the way, we can create a positive environment that helps motivate our teens towards their goals and personal growth. Let’s take the time to recognize and celebrate every milestone our teens reach on their journey towards becoming successful adults.
6. Provide support: Let them know you are always there for them, no matter what happens.
Adolescence can be a challenging phase in life, and teenagers often face difficulties such as peer pressure, academic stress, and the pressure of making important life decisions. Parents must provide support during these times as it can make all the difference in their teen’s life. As a parent, you must let your teenager know you are always there to support them no matter what happens.
One way to show support is by being present and available when your teenager needs you. Create an open and safe space where they can express themselves freely without fear of judgment or criticism. Let them know that their feelings matter and validate any emotions they share with you. Active listening plays a significant role here as it helps parents better understand their teenager’s perspective.
Another way to support is by offering practical solutions when your teenager faces a problem. Brainstorm ideas together on how to solve the issue and encourage your teen to formulate their solutions too. This not only empowers them but also helps build their problem-solving skills.
The most successful people know they need a support system to build incremental and monumental success in their lives! By providing your teen with a mentor, you provide the necessary support to help them stay motivated and get ongoing accountability and guidance. Read more in our blog on the 7 reasons why every young person needs a mentor.
Finally, ensure you check in with your teenagers regularly, even if they are unwilling to communicate. Remember that providing support is an ongoing process, and it is essential for parents to remain vigilant and be a support system for their teens. Sometimes just knowing someone cares can make all the difference in their life.
7. Offer guidance rather than control: Help them make decisions without taking over or dictating their choices.
As parents, we all want the best for our teenagers. However, as they grow older, they start forming opinions and making decisions. It’s important to remember that while guiding them is necessary, trying to control or dictate their choices may lead to rebellion and resentment.
Offering guidance instead of control means giving your teenager the tools to make informed decisions. Encourage them to think about the consequences of their actions and provide them with the space and freedom needed to explore their options. This will help them learn how to make responsible choices on their own.
Encouraging independence and establishing boundaries can equip your teen with the capacity to make constructive decisions and feel empowered to exercise their judgment. Studies have demonstrated that this sense of self-determination reduces rebellious behaviour, encourages creative thinking, and improves the parent-teen relationship.
It can be tempting to step in and take over when you see your teenager making a mistake or heading down a path that concerns you. Allowing your teen to make mistakes and learn from them is crucial for their development because it helps them develop autonomy, resilience, and problem-solving skills that are essential for success in adulthood. Offer suggestions if asked but try not to push your opinions onto them. This will help you strengthen your relationship and reconnect with your teen.
8. Show interest in their interests: Ask questions about what they like and share their excitement.
As a parent, showing interest in what your teen enjoys is essential. This helps to build a stronger bond between you and your teen and shows them that you care about their happiness. It can be challenging to keep up with your teenager’s interests as they constantly change. However, taking the time to learn and explore their passions can make all the difference.
Did you know that research has demonstrated many positive benefits associated with being supported by actively engaged parents? Studies indicate that teens whose parents play a more active role in their lives may have lower behavioural problems than teens whose parents are less involved. Therefore, showing interest in your teen’s interests and passions is essential.
One way to show interest in your teen’s interests is by asking questions. For example, if your teen enjoys playing video games, ask them which games they like and why. You can also ask about strategies or techniques they use while playing. By showing genuine curiosity and asking open-ended questions, you allow them to share more about their interest.
Another way to show interest in their interests is by participating in activities with them. For example, if your teen enjoys hiking or yoga, offer to join them on a hike or take a yoga class together. Ask them for recipes or bake together if they enjoy cooking or baking. Participating in an activity your child loves shows them that you value their hobbies and enjoy spending time with them. This quality time will help you reconnect with your teen and strengthen your relationship.
9. Respect their privacy: Give them space when needed, and don’t snoop!
Privacy is an essential aspect of a teenager’s life. As parents, it’s our responsibility to respect their privacy while ensuring their safety and well-being. Teens need space to develop their identity, learn independence and self-reliance, and explore their interests without too much parental interference. Giving them their privacy shows that we trust them and value their ability to make responsible decisions. Building trust in the relationship with your teen can help you reconnect with your teen.
Allowing teens privacy gives them time for introspection, self-exploration, and emotional regulation. It is crucial to distinguish when it is appropriate to invade teenagers’ personal space and when not. According to research conducted by Bobby Laird and his team over time, intrusive monitoring by parents of well-behaved kids can do more harm than good. However, if the child has already exhibited problematic behaviour, such monitoring can be protective. This is because there’s a balance between safeguarding a child who genuinely requires it and intruding upon one who doesn’t need it.
Additionally, providing privacy does not mean disregarding your teenager’s activities entirely. Parents must maintain an open line of communication with their teens while respecting their boundaries. Building trust with our children through mutual respect and understanding makes them more likely to share things with us voluntarily and strengthens the connection.
As parents or guardians of teenagers, it’s vital to balance respecting privacy and being vigilant about our teen’s safety by having proper communication channels. Giving your teen some level of independence doesn’t mean you’re entirely relinquishing control over their behaviour; instead, it shows that you have faith in them as individuals capable of making sound decisions while still providing guidance when warranted.
10. Practice forgiveness: Let go of grudges and forgive past mistakes.
As parents of teenagers, we often witness them making mistakes. Holding grudges and not forgiving these actions can lead to developing a negative relationship with our teens and negatively impact your attempt to reconnect with your teen. Therefore, practising forgiveness is crucial for maintaining a healthy and positive relationship.
Forgiving past mistakes does not mean that we condone bad behaviour. Instead, it means acknowledging what happened, expressing our feelings about it, and working towards finding a solution together. This approach helps in building trust and understanding between parents and teenagers.
Holding grudges can lead to resentment and bitterness over time. It can also affect our mental health and well-being. Therefore, as parents, it’s essential to let go of any negative emotions associated with past mistakes and move forward with a fresh perspective to connect with your teen.
One way to do this is by helping your teen understand that it’s not about agreeing with their bad behaviour but instead separating the action from your teen as a person. Encourage your teen to try and see things from your perspective – this can help them find compassion and understanding even if they disagree with how you see it. Additionally, talk to your teen and show kindness towards them without excusing their negative behaviour.
By practising forgiveness, we set an example for our teens to follow. We teach them the importance of taking responsibility for their actions, apologizing when necessary, and making amends. This approach promotes accountability and self-awareness in teenagers, which will benefit them throughout their lives.
Practising forgiveness will help you build a positive relationship based on trust and understanding while promoting accountability in your teen. Remember that forgiveness is not only beneficial for your teen but also for your mental health and well-being as well. Practising forgiveness will enable you to be more empathetic and reconnect with your teen.
In conclusion, these are 10 powerful ways to reconnect with your teen and strengthen your relationship. However, it is essential to remember that every teenager is different. What works for one may not work for another. Be patient and understanding as you offer guidance without taking over. Your teens will appreciate your support and trust as they navigate through this crucial time in their lives.
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