Haven’t we all read at least one article that promises to connect with your teen featuring Instagram-worthy photos with families hiking in the woods, or laughing while they all bake bread together. So you give it a try only your family hike began with eye rolls, continues on with a “why do we have to do this?” whine, and ends with a morose teen who makes it abundantly clear he’d rather be anywhere in the world than this stupid forest looking at leaves. But hey, you got that one nice snapshot and it looks like you had a good time.
Or the baking….
Bursts into laughter.
Not all parenting help needs to be Pinterest-worthy. Sometimes the best way to connect and strengthen your relationship with your kids are methods that won’t get a Like on Instagram but will get a like from your kids.
Connect With Your Teen in Four Easy Steps
Try to Understand The Things They Like Even When You Just Don’t Get It
While you’re on Twitter laughing at Michelle Obama side-eyeing memes, your kids are on Snapchat, YouTube, and Instagram laughing at memes and videos of their own.
I fully admit to zoning out when my son would launch into Minecraft mode, my eyes glazing over while I thought about chores that needed to be done. Or when my son showed me a SpongeBob Squarepants meme that MADE ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE THERE IS NOTHING FUNNY ABOUT THIS.
However, this is what your kids are into. So instead of fighting it, join them. Get your kids to show you what they’re watching/looking at and maybe even explain it to you. You still not understand but at least you’ll have a clue what’s going on.
I still don’t get it.
Speak Their Language
Sometimes kids don’t want to talk to you. But they will text you, Snapchat you, or Instagam private message you, so it’s time to learn their language to keep the conversation going.
Get Down to Their Level
When I was a teen the only time my parents ever came into my room was when I was about to get in deep trouble for something. But kids feel more comfortable in their own environment so you literally, get down to their level. If your son is sitting on the floor chilling while watching YouTube videos, get down there beside him. If your daughter is hanging out on her bed, join her for a bit. The first few times they might give you the Michelle Obama side-eye but then it becomes a normal part of your everyday life.
Yes, you want your daughter to know you love her but yelling it out the car window at school drop-off may not be the way to do it. Come up with a few “secret” codes that you can use to let your kids know you love them even when you’re out in public and they won’t be embarrassed.
Because no matter how old they are your kids still need to know they are loved. Even if they just respond with a shoulder shrug or eye roll.