One of the greatest joys in life is to be a parent of a teenager. OK, some of you may want to end that sentence in a different way or with other adjectives. However, the truth is teenagers can be one of life’s most amazing gifts ever.
Yes, they can drive you crazy, they can try your patience, and can even make you want to scream and disappoint you. But they can also bring you some of the greatest memories as they get chosen for a lead in a play, score the top grade on a college exam, befriend another teen who is having trouble or a sleuth of other life choices. One of the biggest challenges we face as parents are outside influences. With all the wonderful advancements in technology and all the good it can do, it can also put a strain on our relationship with our teens. Here are some tips to help ensure you are doing the things that can help build a lasting bond with your teen.
5 Easy Ways To Bond With Your Teenager
Talk face to face
Social media is a wonderful thing and has its place in your teen’s life. However, if its the only way you are talking you’re in trouble. No amount of tweets, text, hashtags, or status updates can compete with good old fashion face to face talking. You may not think your teen wants or needs it but they do even more so now that they are teens. You can learn more in a 15-minute face to face talk than in any number of tweets.
No, I’m not talking stalking your child or hovering over them every minute of the day. I’m talking find ways to be involved in what your teen enjoys. If they like cars go to a car show together if they enjoy traveling plan a trip together. Maybe they enjoy reading find out what they are reading, and read the same book so you can discuss it. When you as the parent get involved you show them you care.
This is the hardest and most often the one thing that seems to get tested the most. Teenagers push the envelope to see how far they can go I know this. It is actually more normal than people might want to think. It is important as parents we try hard to trust our teenager. Yes, we need to set boundaries and rules, but we also need to be there if they make a mistake. we need to be quick to forgive and give them a genuine chance to gain our trust. If we don’t, someone else will.
Get To Know Their Friends
The more you get to know the people your teen hangs out with the better to get to know your teens. Now if your teen is reading this with you and they are saying “no way do I want my parents knowing my friends”. I would suggest going back to point 3 about trust. The more you get to know your teen’s friends and the type of people they are hanging with the more you learn about your teen. Plus there is something really rewarding about seeing your teen hanging out with kids you trust for the most part. Don’t push it but be as proactive as possible with your teen without them shutting you out completely.
Beyond anything else, you can do just love them. We as parents can find many things to be proud of about our teens but it’s that unconditional love when they falter that really means the most. Teens today face so many pressures from outside sources that worrying about whether their parents love them should never be one. This may require you to swallow your pride at times when you are angry, sad, or disappointed but in the end, it’s so worth it. Especially when you realize you are the one person your teen trust the most to be there.
The truth is there is no perfect way to parent a teenager or to build a strong bond. With so many outside influences it’s hard not to get frustrated when you see your teen making bad decisions. But being a parent is the single most important job we will ever have. It’s our job to be there for them. To be that safe place they go to when they fall, to guide them to reach their full potential. It’s our responsibility to love them and raise them, not to let the media and outside do that for us.
As we make this a priority in our life, we will see great things from our teenagers. One of the sweetest sounds we can ever hear is our teenager simply saying, “I love you”. So right now, make the decision that you will find a way to bond with your teenager. Be sure to make it a consistent and genuine effort. There will be wonderful blessings for both of you as you strive to build a strong and lasting relationship. To bond with your teenager is one of life’s greatest gifts.