Easy Ways to Make Connections with Your Tween
We create closeness with our children by meeting them exactly where they are. The person they are matters most, not the one we’d like them to be. As wise parents, we create space and time with them.
My neighbor’s daughter loves bugs, while my neighbor can barely stand the sight of a spider or fly. She decided to embrace her daughter’s passion for insects by listening as her daughter explains the nuances and scientific names of each moth and butterfly she collects. So great has her influence been that my neighbor quit using chemical-based insecticide and fertilizer on her grass to preserve the ground for “bug” breeding.
The parents of adolescents complain that their children often seclude themselves in their rooms. Remember, it’s normal and not a sign that they don’t want you. Knock and get the okay to enter – come without an agenda and go in all the way. Come with a snack or love note or kind words. Come with a smile and acceptance, not judgement. (This is not the time to point out the clutter of cans and wrappers or soiled clothes littering the floor, etc.) Sit on their bed with your eyes are level, and be ready to listen.
Your car connects you to your child and their friends. Be that mom /dad who drives to or from events and calls their friends by name. Be the mom/dad who take their besties home after the slumber party at your house. Be the mom/dad who isn’t listening to a device while driving to encourage chatting and listening.
Let technology work for you because it’s not going away. Ask them to share with you their favorite Tic-Tok or YouTube videos, music, podcasts, and shows they stream. Offer yours as well. You want to know what’s inspiring and shaping your child. Plus, you want to laugh together and follow some of their people and channels.
Stop and greet them by name when they or you arrive home. Wait up for them when they are out late. And if you can, share a sign of affection and your curiosity. This creates belonging and value in their heart. Even though they can’t express it, their home and you are their sanctuary.
We want to be invited and welcomed into their worlds. To make this happen, we need to be present in all the ways that make connecting possible, including my favorite, tucking them in at night. You’ve got this!
I believe in you,
©2023 JoAnn Schauf, MS, LLC Your Tween & You | All rights reserved.