They say the scariest part of raising teenagers is remembering the stupid things you did as a teenager.
Golly gosh! If our kids knew the things we did back in the day they wouldn’t believe us LOL!
You’ve probably noticed that the latest generation of teenagers (Gen Z, 15 to 23 year olds, born mid/late 1990s to early-2000s) are acting very differently from previous generations, a recent study found:
- 52% are conservative vs rebellious
- 84% say they are ambitious
- 64% are going out less than last year
- 56% enjoy staying in more than going out
- 78% have a current Netflix account
Source: Junkee Media, 2019
As you can see Gen Z are the self-aware, wildy independent generation we wish we could have been!
As your Gen Z child transitions from child to teen you’re bound to experience some friction in the relationship.
If you’re like every parent, raising a teenager can be one of the most challenging obstacles life throws at us (if you need some help, I have some ideas).
As your adorable little mini-me, transitions from child into teenager you’ll start to notice some changes that will make you question your parenting skills.
You will be riddled with doubt as to why your adorable angel muffin suddenly becomes so distant or disinterested in family life.
Not to fret, the behaviours you’re seeing are all signs of healthy adolescence. With all the pressures from school, social life, family, PLUS the raging hormones – your child is going through one heck of a ride.
Your job is to look after them as best as you can, and the best way to do this is to remain connected.
As a mother who has raised two teenagers, I’ve come to share all my wisdom I’ve learned to help you connect with your teenager.
Here are my top ways to connect with your teen:
// Follow the lead with their interests
I bet you’ve heard your teenager groan more than once when you invite them to an activity of your choosing. One of the best ways to connect with your teenager is to join them in an activity they love to do!
Think of a hobby or activity that they’re obsessed with and join them doing it. It’s a great way to spend quality time with each other and to get you two talking.
Joining them on activity speaks louder than words, it will show them how much you care about their needs, making them feel even more loved and adored.
// Work together (an opportunity to chat)
Working together in the backyard or on a project can be a great way to show your teen how it’s done, pass on some skills and allow for some precious bonding time.
Showing them how you work can also be a great way to teach your teen a hard work ethic, after all they say we end up turning into our parents!
Some ideas could include gardening, or get crafty and decorate their room or up-cycle some old furniture together (we do this).
Down the track when your teen is an adult they’ll appreciate the knowledge you passed on to them.
// Create a quirky ritual
A quirky ritual can be an interesting way to get your teen excited for special occasions or events, say the report card comes out or the school holiday begins.
If you have a daughter you could get mani-pedis together or a son take him to the movies, or a theme park for all! This little out-of-the-normal schedule activity will get your teens so excited when they know the rituals coming around.
// Set a regular date in your calendar
Setting up a specific time and place for you to check in with your teen will ensure you guys will always have time for each other, no matter how busy the schedule gets.
It could be as simple as grabbing lunch together or helping with their homework once a week.
Giving them your complete undivided attention will make them feel valued and appreciated, strengthening the connection between you two.
To make this easier for both of you simply set up a weekly repeating event in your Life Sorted calendar, each of you will be alerted when it’s time to check in with each other! No thinking required, Life Sorted will handle it all with a notification to remind you two to stop and connect amidst your hectic schedules.
// Speak with positivity in the household
It’s common as a busy parent to experience bad days, trying to juggle all the things mean we’re under severe pressure to run a smooth operation at all times.
Sadly, life is not perfect, and you’re bound to experience a day in the dumps.
That’s why you should never bring home any negative energy from a bad day, leave it at the door or learn to short circuit your negative thinking.
You want the household to be a negative free zone, so your teen can flourish in a comfortable home environment. So leave the negative feelings, thoughts and vibes at the door!
// Love affirmations
You know that feeling when someone says a compliment to you and you feel all flustered in a good way?
Well, that’s how your kids will feel when you say things that make them feel appreciated and loved!
Regularly saying affirmations can be a powerful way to reinforce the love you have for your teen.
Try saying these affirmations to help you connect with your teen!
- I love you so much ❤️
- You are so appreciated! 🙏🏻
- I’m here for you if you need me 🤗
- Thank you 🙏🏻
- I’m really proud of you! 🙌🏻
- You’re so brave! 💪🏻
- You can always try again tomorrow 🤩
- I appreciate your time ⏱
// Cook a meal together
Cooking a special meal with your teen can be a fantastic way to connect with your teenager …. A) it will teach your teen some skills for when they leave the nest and B) it is a chance to bond and chat.
Try showing your teen how to cook their favourite dish or show them the basics we all love.
They’ll appreciate this gesture tremendously as one day they will be able to provide and cook for their own family with the skills you taught them.
// Work out together
A great way to connect with your teenager is to get the blood pumping with your teen! My daughter and I love going to a group work out together, we have loads of fun doing it and get to chat and update each other on the latest goss in our lives!
As a busy mama I find exercise really improves my mood and patience which comes handy when dealing with a hormonal teenager!
I’ve always found this has helped my teenagers cope with the amount of pressure they receive from school their social lives.
// Understand their love language!
Finding out your teenagers love language can be one of the most powerful ways to connect with your teenager.
We all like to receive love in different ways, so figuring your teenagers love language is the key to being connected.
So if receiving gifts is one of their love languages, perhaps buy them something special like a beautiful necklace or a watch as a memento.
Or if physical touch is their language, shower them with hugs or a kiss on the forehead before bed to show the love you have for them.
You can read all about the 5 love languages here.
So, there you have it! Connecting with your teenagers can be a challenge, but as long as you make time for them, they’ll come around.