Plan Times that Prioritize Your Relationship with Your Teen

Posted on August 18th, 2011, 0 Comments

My daughter, now in her 20s, was back for a visit last week. Early in the week she made a list of the things she wanted us to do together while she was home. The list included chatting over morning coffee, going to a movie and sushi for dinner afterwards, and helping me make a peach pie.

The things on my daughter’s list reminded me of the activities I built into our everyday routine when she and her brother were teens. As our kids got older and their schedules and ours got busier, I noticed that we were doing fewer family and one-on-one activities together. Purposefully planning times to do things together helped me stay connected to my teens, showing them that I cared about them and that our relationship was a priority. I found that when I had a strong connection with them, I accomplished more as a parent, and it was easier.

As summer vacation begins to wind down, now is a great time to plan some activities that help you prioritize your relationship with your teen. Below are a handful of my favorites:

Make their favorite dinner to eat together or try making a new recipe together. (Family meals decline throughout adolescence, yet research shows that sitting down to dinner as a family is one of the most effective ways to keep your teen from smoking, drinking, and using drugs. Research also shows that most teens say that eating family meals together is one of their favorite family activities.)

Find a TV show that you both like; make it a habit to watch it together on a regular basis.

Go biking or running together.

Go to a movie together; discuss it over dinner or dessert afterwards.

Meet for coffee.

Choose a really good book and give it to your teen as a gift. Perhaps buy two, and discuss it as you read.

These kinds of relationship building activities are key to helping you stay connected to your teen so that they remain teachable and open to your influence as they mature. Plus the fun you share together will help to recharge your parenting batteries – which, in turn, will foster connectedness.

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