Learn Something New Together
You’ll find yourself laughing at your mistakes and rooting each other on as you try to create, build, or do something you’ve never done before. Sometimes teens forget that adults are real people who struggle and overcome difficulties or who aren’t serious all the time. This will remind them, plus it will build memories that you will share forever. They may even tell their kids about the time you…
Whatever they like to play, play it with them. It might be a video game or basketball. Or skateboarding or Monopoly. It doesn’t matter what it is, just get in there and join in. Let them be the teacher for a change. It’s great practice for them, and it lets them feel in charge in a small but interesting way. Expect to laugh… a lot!
Parents are great at giving advice, but honestly, many of us have a harder time just listening without giving an opinion or commenting. When your teen does start talking about something, no matter what it is, practice just listening. Maybe ask a question here or there for clarification and to show you are really paying attention. The more you just listen, the more likely they will open up more often and come to you when they do actually need some advice.
Communicate on Their Level
Many parents text and instant message, but they do that with their friends only. How about communicating with your teens in the way they prefer to. If you call your teen, but they never answer, wise up and stop calling. Text them instead. Brush up on the popular acronyms they use to text, too, so you can show them how cool and “with it” you are. Finding ways in which they will communicate with you regularly is half the battle!
Share Stories and Photos
Gather up some of your old photo albums on a rainy day and enjoy flipping through them together. Look at the pictures of when they were little and share stories of times you remember. Don’t be afraid to pull out some albums of when you were young, too! They will laugh at the styles you wore and how geeky you looked as a teenager, and you will create new memories you will share down the road.
Join a Challenge
This might be a marathon for charity or a challenge to write a book. Or it could be a challenge to lose weight, exercise daily, eat healthier – whatever you want. Find a way to keep track of how you are doing and spend time each evening filling out the details and sharing your daily experience. You could focus on challenging yourselves or you could put a small wager on it and challenge each other. Participating in an organized challenge or one you create just for the two of you brings you and your teen together not just once, but daily.