Let’s continue our series on 7 ways to connect with your teen with Part 2: Make Time for Them! In case you missed it, you may want to start with #1: Pray With Them and For Them HERE.
This seems obvious, I know. It’s hard to connect with someone if you don’t make time for them, right? Yet, how often do we miss this? When our kids are younger, we naturally spend a lot of time with them because they need us for everything. But as they get older, they become less dependent. They begin to spend more and more time away from us.
If we truly want to connect with our teen, we must be intentional about spending time with them.
#2: MAKE TIME FOR THEM
If you don’t have a lot of time to spend with your teen, you may try to make up for it by planning over-the-top experiences. Or, if you’re like me, you may spend a ton of ordinary time with your kids, but rarely do anything special together.
Quantity AND Quality
The simple truth is our children need both QUANTITY AND QUALITY time with us, and this only becomes more important as they get older.
Jesus is our best model for this.
There were miracles and mountaintops along the way (quality), but much of His ministry happened in the everyday, ordinary moments of life (quantity). He shared meals with the disciples. They spent hours traveling from town to town. Whether it was a big moment or a small moment, Jesus made the most of it, and created the kind of connections we should strive for with our teens.
Your kid might tell you what happened in Algebra class as you’re folding socks together in the living room, while their favorite memory is when you took them to the Braves game and spilled your coke all over the guy in front of you.
Time together is so important, and it’s something we can never get back! Here are two easy ways to be intentional about making time for your teen.
Get involved in their activities.
A few years ago, a friend asked me this question: If you could only recommend one thing to parents to help them connect with their kids, what would it be? In addition to prayer, it was this— be involved in their life.
In my experience, despite their protests, most teens actually love to have their parents around. It shows them you care, and it makes it easier for them to talk to you about what’s going on in their life because you are already part of it. It gets you in the door, which is half the battle during the teenage years.
Many teens love their parents to coach their sports or lead their small group. However, if your kid would rather have some space, find ways to serve in the background. That way, you’re still available, but not cramping their style!
Seek opportunities to have fun with them.
For most of us, our time with our teens consists primarily of doing chores around the house, correcting behavior, and chauffering them to all their activities. But if we want to connect with our teens, we must also be intentional about having fun together (in big and small ways)!
Can I be honest? I struggle with this. I am usually either so intentional or so distracted that “fun” is not on my radar. Jeff is the fun parent in our family! He’s the one who stops for ice cream, turns the music up in the car, and plays video games with the boys. I’m the one who makes everyone fold their laundry and eat their vegetables…
Vegetables and laundry are necessary, don’t get me wrong. But is that really how I want them to think about me when they get older? “Our mom was awesome; we love brussel sprouts today because of her!” Really?
No, I want them to laugh about the dance parties we had in the kitchen and how I made them talk with a British accent during our “Tuesday tea-times.”
When I was growing up, my dad coached several of my sports teams, and we often refereed soccer games together. One of my favorite memories from high school is when he took me and my best friend camping for the weekend. How many dads take windsurfing lessons with their daughter? My dad did, and I’ve never forgotten it.
Friends, let’s get involved in our teen’s activities and be intentional about having FUN with them! Take a minute and think of one activity you can get involved in with your teen (something THEY want to do is better than something YOU want them to do!). After that, write down three fun things you can do with them in the next week or two.
Congratulations! You are on your way to connecting with your teen!
Click here for a FREE PRINTABLE and ACTION SHEET
to help you be intentional about connecting with your teen!
Stay tuned next week as we move on to #3: “Listen More Than You Speak.” Here’s a sneak peak at the different topics we’ll be discussing in this series…
- Pray with them and for them
- Make time for them
- Learn to listen more than you speak
- Engage in the hard conversations
- Take advantage of their rhythms
- Be the first to say you’re sorry
- Hug them!
If you know someone who might find this series helpful, will you please email them a link or share this with them on social media? And if you want to talk with other moms about Biblical parenting and faith, come join the conversation in my private FB group!