I’m not talking about misunderstanding their TikTok references… We all struggle with that ?. I’m talking about really feeling like you’ve lost touch with your teen.
Maybe you’ve been getting a pass by having some small talk about school, work, chores, athletics, drama, friends… But you haven’t really connected with them on a deeper level in a while, and now you aren’t sure if they would even want to.
I would air on the side of caution and say—They probably do.
Whether they know it or not, they need connection with you because they have a lot more going on than school, athletics, friends, and chores.
The thing is, right now, they are deciding who they want to be and what kind of person they will become when they hit adulthood. There are influences and pressure everywhere, and your teen needs to talk with you in a safe space to feel grounded and make good decisions.
How to Talk to My Teen
Step 1: Leave your house.
I haven’t been as intentional lately about spending time with my boys and going out for dates. (Psst… If you’re not going out on “dates” with your kids, you should really try it.)
Six months ago we would go out every other week to do something together. I’ve gotten away from that, and I feel like our relationship has become strained. So I’m changing that pattern and starting a new one.
But why dates, and why out of the house? ?
- Because that same small-talk you’ve been having with your teens turns into actual conversations outside your four walls.
Even if they aren’t speaking to you at home… going somewhere or doing something outside of your house will pave the way for communication. And your teenager needs to open up. Believe me. They do.
- Your teen will feel valued when you make an effort to take them somewhere outside of the normal routine.
When you value you them, they, in turn, hold higher standards for themselves. When you show them that it’s important for you to spend time with them, they can see their worth more clearly.
- Our teenagers need to know that the doors are open for them to talk about anything.
Don’t underestimate the power of one-on-one time with no agenda just to make sure your teen can talk about those things they’ve been burying down deep. I know some people like to have talks in the car. I’m more of the opinion that talking in the car feels too threatening because there’s nowhere they can escape to (which may or may not be a good thing in your case).
- The conversations can’t happen as easily at home. There are too many distractions.
The dishwasher needs to be loaded, the laundry put away, the floors swept. Put down the broom, grab the keys, and go get some ice cream with your kid. The chores can wait.
- Your teenager doesn’t have a bedroom to hide in outside of the house. ?
How true is this? They go in there because it’s their space. They’ve personalized it. They can feel like themselves, and be in charge. But trying to seek them out for a Full House kind of pep talk in their bedroom isn’t always as sweet as it sounds.
(Plus, you might be tempted to bring up the topic of the messy bedroom, and then all bets are off.)
- Leaving the house puts you all on the same playing field so there’s less friction between the both of you.
Step 2: Ask the Tough Questions
Adolescence is particularly tricky to navigate because things are always changing. Your teen’s needs change as they take on more responsibility and learn more independence.
What they need from you is a mystery at any given time.
But acknowledging the changes is what allows us to pivot when we need to pivot.
That’s why I always ask my teens, “How can I be a better parent to you? How can I best support you?”
I’ll be honest, I don’t always get quality feedback on this one, but sometimes just asking the question is enough to let them know that I care about giving them what they need from me.
Sometimes it makes the youngest really comfortable. “I don’t know” is his first line of defense.
It’s like taking a pulse on the life of our parent-kid relationship. I would always rather ask them than assume that I know what they need. These open lines of communication help so you don’t feel like you’ve lost touch with your teen.
Step 3: Learn to enjoy and treasure the relationship for your sake too
When we are parenting, we tend to think that it’s all about meeting our kids’ needs, learning how to help them with their ADHD study habits, and pushing them to make good decisions. Then they have an ADHD meltdown (teenage angst) and we feel constant pressure that we aren’t everything we should be for them.
But keep in mind, teens turn into adults; and it’s kind of fun to be around other adults, especially when it’s your own kids.
That relationship has to be started now and cultivated through the teen years into adulthood.
These relationships are what life is about. If we don’t strengthen them; logic says we weaken them. And that’s not what you want, is it? (Remember, we need them just as much as they need us.) It’s time to put in the work – no more feeling like you’ve lost touch with your teen.
Make it a Priority
It may take a little bit of effort and time on your part, but the results are going to be priceless.
Don’t overthink it.
Just grab your calendar, grab your teen, and nail down some dates when you can go hang out, just the two of you. Determine to enjoy them, to allow them to have a say in the plan, and then commit to making it happen no matter what.
Don’t underestimate the power of one on one time with no agenda just to make sure your teen can talk about those things they’ve been burying down deep. I promise you this will help alleviate the feeling of having lost touch with your teen.
You won’t regret it. How are you spending time with your teens? If you don’t know how to engage or get your teen back, click the Connect tab above or jump into the Facebook group and DM me! I’ll give you some tips for opening the floodgates.