Attachment Parenting isn't just important in the baby years. The teen years are some of the most important ones in terms of keeping that connection with your child.
Teenagers are notorious for pulling away from their parents (and to some extent, this is healthy), but they also really need a strong connection with parents at this age. A close relationship with parents can really matter with all of the stresses, dangers and pressures of the teen years. And despite their anti-adult reputation, teenagers tend to really crave time with us.
Here are five simple, fun ways to foster that connection with your teen.
- Get out in nature together. You can go camping together (borrow a tent if you don't have one), rent some skis, go boating, hit the bike trails or just hike. It's also fun to head out to a safe fire pit and light a camp fire (teens love to do this themselves and it's a great survival skill). Don't forget to roast marshmallows for s'mores. Kids are never too old for those!
- Have a movie night. Alternate picking the movie, then pop some popcorn and kick back together to watch it. It can be especially fun to introduce your teen to movies that you loved when you were a teenager.
- Get some culture. Get on the mailing lists for local museums and galleries and take your teen to an opening night or to see an exhibit. Not only will your teen get to experience a decidedly adult-like experience, but there's often munchies (and parents know that the quickest way to some teens' hearts is through their stomachs!). Alternately, head to a museum and just check out all the works, pick your favorites, and spend an afternoon immersing yourselves in art and simple conversation.
- Hit the thrift stores. Shopping sprees at the mall can get spendy, but you can find a ton of treasures for hardly any money if you hit thrift stores. Look for neat finds like vintage jackets, sports equipment, crafting odds and ends, funky jewelry, gadgets and decorating items.
- Head to a local diner or coffee house. Starbucks will work, but aim for a little local place with lots of atmosphere if you can. Enjoy some delicious drinks and homemade goodies, and just hang out and talk. You can even try to visit when there's music, poetry or some other sort of performance going on.
Be sure to ask your teen where she or he would like to go, too. Make it a regular commitment to spend some real, fun time together.
There are so many ways to make some memories and spend some time with teens. Follow their interests and introduce them to passions of your own from your past. Most important, just find some ways to talk (and especially listen).