What are some good ways to maintain a close relationship with growing teen children?

Teens naturally seek independence from their parents—but that doesn't mean that moms should have to give up on our relationship with our teen kids entirely! Share your best tips on maintaining a strong bond with your teens through their adolescent years.

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17  Answers

105 39

Get involved is my advice. My son plays basketball so I am in the stands at every game unless I am very ill. My older son played in the band during HIgh School I was a member of the band boosters and I went to the competitions. I know they appreciate me being there even if they dont say it becuase that would not be cool. And then we have things to talk about afterwards. As my daughter gets older and more involved I will do the same for her. I am all they have their father has made it clear his life is not here and their activities mean nothing to him. Not quite his words but pretty much what he has said. So forget those dirty clothes, dishes etc. Spend time with your kids just being in the same room sometimes is all it takes.

8
1,355 3

I think it is important to maintain the structure you have been providing since they were little, with some obvious modifications. It will remind them that you are always going to be the same, constant in their life. They know what to expect (love, support, guidance) because this is what you have been giving them all along. Don't be afraid to admit when you are wrong. If I've over reacted to a situation, for example, I will go apologize and amend the consequences (if that was part of it). She appreciates the respect and shows me the same when the tables are turned. In both cases we talk about what set us off and try to figure out if there was a miscommunication or if one of us was having a bad day and took it out on the other. They need a rock in the choppy, exciting, sometimes overwhelming waters of the teenage world.

Stay involved, my daughter does gymnastics. Her practices are 2 nights per week for 2 hours each. But they only have 5 meets for the whole year, so I go to almost every practice, then every Thursday we go out for the same snack afterwards. We sit and talk about whatever she brings up and enjoy our treat. I know she's glad I'm there because she's said, "I wonder why no other parents come. I feel bad for the other girls." I'm a single mom so we get quite a bit of one on one time. I ask her open ended questions about things/people that she's involved in. She enjoys putting together funky outfits and learning new ways to do her hair. So I ask her to show me the latest. Things like that.

I encourage her to have her friends over often. Since I already know them, she'll tell me when something is going on later and that provides another opportunity for some open dialouge and maybe a teaching moment. When it's time for her to make a decision, as long as it is not going to cause her serious harm, I have to let her choose and learn from that. I will be there for her to either help her pick up the pieces or to applaud her for a job well done. I trust her until she gives me reason not to. (that doesn't mean I turn a blind's eye) .

I'm sure some of that sounds more like a parenting style but I believe doing these things will keep you close with your teen because he/she will feel loved, safe, supported and confident knowing that no matter what you have been and always will be there.

6
3 20

A couple of nights a week, I watch television shows with my teens that they like, such as Degrassi, Pretty Little Liars and my son loves shows on Animal Planet. I find that they are really open to discussing what is happening on the shows. It is non-threatening, because we are talking about the characters, and I am able to discuss my experiences when I was a teenager. My daughter really likes hearing about how I handled things, and it shows her that I do understand what she is going through. I try to really listen to what the kids say about the situations the characters are in.
I am fairly strict when it comes to the kids going places, so the compromise I made with them, is that I will drive them and their friends.
I also maintain traditions from when they were younger. They kind of roll their eyes about things, but I really hear about it if I don't do it! Such as, putting food coloring in the pancakes, (did that as a treat for a birthday about 13 years ago!) planting a new lilac bush every Mother's day, making extra buttery popcorn and lighting candles to watch Star Wars. The list goes on and on, but they really like knowing that some things will stay the same, even though they are changing so much.
And the most important thing, be the PARENT!! They don't need another friend, they need someone to guide them. It's okay for them to be angry with you. There have been so many times that my 15 year old has been mad at me about things, but then she has come back later and thanked me for not letting her get involved with or go to whatever it was.

5
8 74

Don't be afraid to laugh at yourself. You're NOT a teenager anymore so the fact that you don't know their music or don't text like it's a second language is humorous, not mortifying. But make sure your children know that you will try to speak their language if they try to speak yours. It keeps the doors of communication open. Also, never be afraid to be the house where everyone hangs out. Our doors are always open for impromptu gatherings, movie nights, bonfires. Strike up conversation with their friends. It's amazing how well that works.

5
31 1

I really like that our house is "the house" that my kids and their friends hang out at. A friend of mine complained about the financial cost of feeding all of those extra mouths, that she felt like she was raising her children's friends. I told her that I understood the added expense, but really it's a small price to pay for having my kids here at our house. I love having them all around, they all talk to me, I am like a second mom to those kids. Some of them really need someone. The fact that these kids can spend days at our house without anyone minding that they don't come home says something about the relationship that they have with their parents. My husband and I really feel like we're making a big difference in those kids lives and our own kids know that we will always be there for them.

4
7 17

First, realize that your child is growing up and is wanting more independence and privacy. Second, make certain that even though your child may want those things in order for them to talk to you that they realize you may not like everything they say, but you will listen with an open mind. Thirdly, and this is the most difficult, allow them to make mistakes. Don't do the "I told you so," but be there and allow them to talk and discuss how they feel. Be a good listener, supporter, and never let them forget that you love them unconditionally.

3
3 16

Spending time together "off the grid" my son and I did a 5 day backpacking trip together. Since than he seems to have a new respect for me. We also kayak together a lot. I have an extra so the kids can always have a friend along too. We've been able to bring many people who had never had the experience.

2
13 18

Get involved with what they are interested in. Also, if you have smaller children, start doing something with that child that you both enjoy and it will become something that you can share as they get older. For example, I collect fine china tea pots and cup and saucer sets, I bought my daughter a child's tea set when she was little, so we began to have tea parties every afternoon. As she grew up, we still had tea every afternoon and of course, no tea is complete without finger sandwiches, scones and jam, so that became a ritual that we both looked forward too. It has been particularly good now that she is in high school. It is a time that we can talk and reconnect and she can share her worries, fears or just joke around. When my boys were teenagers, the older one was in the band and everything was about music, so we made sure that we went to concerts, listened to music that he enjoyed and we never missed a game where the band was playing. My younger son was an avid fisherman and football player. We would go on fishing trips, sometimes just the two of us and those were times when he would talk and tell me all about his thoughts and feelings. Since he was the quieter to the three children, it was important for him to have that time that was just for him and me and my husband. We also went to all his games and practices. We always made a point for each of us to have individual time with each child and we always did something with each child that we did not do with the other children. My boys are grown now and they talk about and treasure those times. My daughter is 17 and she has already begun to collect her own fine china tea pots and cup and saucer sets. She talks about doing the same with her children one day. So, I think it is very important to do something individually tailored to each child and their interests, or to start a tradition with a smaller child that will become a ritual for you both as they get older.

2
10 18

I think you have to find common interests sometimes you have to get into what they are into even if you are not interested.I have a 14 year old son so as a mom I struggle to find video games and the avengers interesting but if that is what it takes to have time with him then I love it!!!!
I also like like to have lunch dates just me and him his choice of course you would
be surprised at the conversation when they are eating lol.
So I say keep in mind that they grow up so fast and as parents we are not cool to hang out with and most of the time you feel like an ATM and a taxi driver at least you are still with them!

2
6 12

I believe that you should spend quality time with your kids especially your teenagers take time to do special things with them one and one, whether that is a movie or out to eat or going to the mall.. Also keep the lines of communication open and let them know that you are there for them no matter what.

1
4 13

You must have been friends with them from childhood so that they can confide in you....if not its not too late you can start by just listening to their stories and chipping in when they ask you something.

1
2 4

Make time for them and take the effort to learn new things about your children and how to be a better parent. Hear what they have to say and know when to listen and when to give advice. Learn to speak their 'love language', treat them with respect and set boundaries. Love them in a way that they perceive love.

1
29 0

My best tip - Provide ongoing love. Just because you are a Mother of teen doesn't mean that you
can't provide some physical love. Don't let your children grow older without some ongoing love.
Hug them, if necessary, go one step further. I know that our Daughter how is 13 does not go
withoiut my love. She is, I believe, better off having been close to me. Thankfully my wife is good
with my love for my Daughter. Life is tough now and showing your concern for that is very important.
If you haven't shared yourself with your children to date, I would consider doing so now. The both of you will benefit from it for years to come. Besides, the closer relationship will serve both of you well as time goes on. It will definently help with those troubled years that teens often go through.
This provides some sense of peace at a time when there is often much trouble. It has worked for us. Let me know your thoughts.

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40 0

Hi all you mom's out there! I'm a student doing research about how Mom's buy fast food for their children and trying to make improvements in the industry. If you guys have a minute to spare to take my survey (and perhaps pass it along to your friends :) ) that would be awesome! Thanks so much!
:)

https://docs.google.com/a/macalester.edu/spreadsheet/viewform?fromEmail=true&formkey=dENycVJCV0hoNXI5dmExRU1uR1paLXc6MQ

0
0 0

Have dinner/meals together regularly. Laugh & lighten up from time to time. Let them know you are only human!

0
99 6

Be there. Just because they don't depend on you for every little thing anymore, doesn't mean they need you less. I think they need you more!!!! The amazing thing about being involved with your teen is that you know all their friends, you know who is dating who and where your kid is and who he is with. My boys are in ROTC and Culinary arts. I was president of the ROTC boosters for three years. I am a part of everything. I have loved it and my kiddo's friends all know me. The truth is,, you will not embarrass them with your presence. They like it that you are there if you know how to keep your distance. Your presence is enough. And with each thing you do, you will have memories to share. I have seen so many kids show up to things with no money, or no lunch, or their parent doesn't pick them up or whatever. I've known a great deal of the kids and have NEVER seen their parent. I have seen a kid get awards with no parent there to cheer him on. SAD SAD SAD. I always talk to my kids. Every day. Im interested, Im involved. I do it with my "tween". I don't want to lose her along the way. Parents are so busy these days, but you have to remember one thing..family comes first. Don't let YOUR life get in the way of being an active participant in THEIRS.

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2 40

I find that being in the car makes my 14-year-old son chatty, so whenver we're dtiving some place alone, I use that time to ask open-ended questions, to get his views on the news, or to just learn about his latest music preferences. We also use that time to talk about his dream to travel the world, to speak many languages. I also share with him the dreams I had when I was his age. He seems to like stories that show him I was a confused teenager at one time, too. My husband is the bigger sports enthusiast, so although I go to games and practices, he talks more about strategy and technique. I serve on the PTA so that I can know his friends and their parents. I think regular check-ins and talks whenever he wants keep us connected.

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