Are you the mean parent or the fun one? Do your kids talk to you or do you feel like you have to pry even the vaguest detail out of them? When was the last time you felt like you really connected with your teen?
Generally, I’m the mean parent (if you know Jeff, you know I’m telling the truth, lol!). But I have a friend who is a rock-star mom. Every year, she takes each of her four kids on a one-on-one overnight trip. She scours Groupon for deals on hotels and activities, and finds something she thinks that particular child would enjoy— shopping, an amusement park, a play/musical, or a pro sports game.
How fun is that? Can you imagine the stories they will have to tell? And I’m sure some great conversations occur as they spend focused time together away from their normal environment.
The “teen years” can be difficult. Relating with our teens on a deep level can be even more difficult. But I believe being intentional about connecting with our teens is the best investment we can make!
We must recognize, though, that connection is active, not passive. It does not happen on its own! It requires intentional choices, commitment, and sacrifice.
While there is no formula for perfect parenting, I want to share 7 practical ways you can connect with your teen. For the next seven weeks, we will talk about each of these areas in more detail and how they can positively influence our relationship with our teens.
Let’s start with PRAYER.
7 Ways to Connect with Your Teen-
#1: PRAY WITH THEM AND FOR THEM
This seems obvious, but I’ll be honest— prayer is often the last thing I think to do. My instinct is to problem solve, give advice, or express my frustration. As a parent, I want to DO something; and unfortunately, praying often feels passive. However, I can give you multiple examples in which God opened doors with my children NOT because of my good advice or intervention, but solely as a result of prayer. So if you want to connect with your teen, make sure you pray with them and for them.
Connect With Your Teen By Praying With Them
Thank goodness so much of what our children experience is completely out of our control! How else would we learn to trust Jesus? And what wonderful opportunities to teach our kids how to turn to Him.
Challenging situations are the perfect time to help our kids connect with Jesus!
Jeff and I have prayed with our kids for the Lord to provide a friend for each of them at different times, and every time, He did. He has answered prayers for direction, for lost items, for boldness to confront difficult situations, for new activities, for courage, and even for a puppy! (So be careful what you pray for!!)
When we pray with our teens for what they need, we are able to help them connect the dots between their prayers and our Father’s faithfulness, building a faith foundation for the years to come. And something about praying together binds our hearts together as well.
Connect With Your Teen by Praying For Them
Not only should we pray with them, but we should also pray for them. This can take on many forms, and all of them are valuable!
- Popcorn prayer- In the moment as things pop up
- Situational prayer- Covering a specific need or situation
- Seasonal prayer- Asking for guidance or provision during a specific season
- Scriptural prayer- Praying God’s Word over them
- Collective prayer- Gathering regularly with others to pray over our teens
- Introspective prayer- Sometimes the best way to pray for our kids isn’t to ask God to change them, but asking Him to change us. Perhaps our own attitude, fear, or character flaws are contributing to a problem, and allowing God to change our hearts will make a significant difference.
I chose prayer as the first suggestion in this list because it is foundational to everything else. If you don’t do anything else, I believe simply praying for and with your teen is the best possible way to make a connection with them. I also believe everything else depends on it!
So before you purposefully attempt to connect in any of these other ways, I encourage you to first pray about it! Ask God to make your teen receptive, to give you wisdom and discernment, to help you listen more than you speak, and to prompt you so you are aware of potential “moments.” I am confident you will find your efforts far more effective with His help than without it!
Stay tuned next week as we move on to #2: “Make Time for Them.” 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!
And you can CLICK HERE FOR A FREE PRINTABLE AND ACTION SHEET to help you be intentional about connecting with your teen!
If you know someone who might find this series helpful, will you please send them an email 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 FACEBOOK GROUP!
Here are some posts by a few of my friends also featuring the number SEVEN! Feel free to check them out!