5 Ways to Connect With Your Tween or Teenager

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Understanding Your Tween or Teen Daughter

Do you have a porcupine living with you? The last couple of years have been a bit difficult in that we have had to deal with the transitional phase of kids to tweens and tweens to teens. It has driven me up the wall many times – often ending with me sulking in the evenings and telling my husband that I feel like a failure. This has reminded me to turn the pages to the oldie but goodie – How to Hug a Porcupine

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My once cuddly and sweet little tot has turned into a moody, feisty, and sometimes horrible tween/teen! How to Hug a Porcupine helps you navigate this unreliable phase and respond to your horrible (♥) child the right way. 

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How to Connect With Your Tween or Teenager

The truth is, it’s difficult to “control” a teenager. So the best time to do it – ie, let them know that you are the parent – is when they are a tween in middle school. 

Related Post: 5 Ways to Support Your Growing Tween When It Seems So Damn Hard

5 Ways to Connect With Your Tween or Teenager

1. Set Boundaries

Whether they think it or not, young tweens and teens desire guidance and boundaries. Without these two, your tween or teen will push until they find where the buck stops. Often, we parents make excuses for our kids and their bad behavior. Setting boundaries – believe it or not – keeps them close to you. In a world that is big and new to them, your tween/teen sees you as their safe place. 

Dial Down the Drama is a great guide for mothers all around!

“One moment your daughter is fun-loving and energetic—a pleasure to be around. The next she’s sulking in silence, or worse, screaming and slamming the door.” Sound familiar? I thought so! It can be incredibly overwhelming. We’re all going through it, I imagine.

In this book, O’Grady gives us real, practical solutions – no, not solutions… suggestions – on how to deal with it. The reality is there is no firm solution to make it all go away. The secret is in how we deal with it.

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2. Respect Their Need for Privacy

Everything within reason. Even if they need privacy, it is still our responsibility as parents, to guide them. Keep the house rules, but adjust them as necessary. 

All my daughter is asking for right now is that I knock – AND WAIT FOR HER TO ANSWER – before entering her bedroom. It’s a very small ask in the grand scheme of things. So I give her that. 

3. Have Set Family Nights

A simple, but effective, way of connecting with your children is to find some common ground. Whether it may be through sport, entertainment, books, or similar.

For a while now, we have been observing what we call our Wednesday Games Night. Each Wednesday, my husband makes sure he is home early from work. I have dinner ready – as well as dessert, because why not?! We all sit down to dinner together and talk about our days. And then, we move into the living room and start a round of silly games. We find that even our teenager comes out of her cave room on Wednesday nights. 

Here are some of the games we have found to be really engaging: 

Pencil Nose

This is a great game that is sure to encourage fun and participation from the whole family. Kinda like Pictionary – only this time, players have to use their NOSE to try and sketch an image with the aim of their team guessing it correctly!

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Watch Ya’ Mouth Family Edition

This game literally had us in fits for hours – and believe me, it doesn’t get old! Great for a family of four or more, each player will need to put on a cheek retractor and attempt to read a phrase from a card while team members try and guess what they’re saying. Here’s video of us trying the game out – (turn it down… I don’t know why the volume is so loud 🔊🙉) –  SO MUCH FUN! 

 

Bonus Note: Here’s an NSFW ADULTS ONLY Watch Ya Mouth Version! 😂

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4. Keep It Simple

Do not try to overanalyze things. I know that as parents when it comes to our own kids, we tend to get drawn in too deep and try to fix things even when things don’t need to be fixed. Instead – keep it simple. Your kids don’t need you to hover over them. Let them come to you – and make sure that when they do, you stop what you are doing, and make yourself available. 

5. Have Dinner Together

I cannot stress how important this is. We are all busy. I know that. But for an hour a day – even just 30 minutes – sit down together and share a meal. Talk to each other and show them that they matter. 

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Here are 5 Ways to Connect With Your Tween or Teenager
5 Ways to Connect With Your Tween or Teenager

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