6 Great Activities to Help You Communicate With Your Teenager
By Caron C. Andrews
The foundation for a healthy relationship with your teenager is built on good communication. There are simple, everyday activities to do with your teenager to encourage communication and strengthen your bond.
- Share music. Find out what your teenager’s favorite songs are and talk about what they like about them: the lyrics? The melody? The way they make them feel? Play your old favorites for your teen and describe the memories they evoke in you. My daughter and I share very similar taste in music and enjoy playing old and new favorites for each other. Singing together makes each of us feel connected and understood.
- Use driving time for conversations. These are perfect opportunities to talk about everything from the mundane to the critically important. Sitting side by side instead of face to face can even make more sensitive topics easier to talk about. Some of my best conversations with my kids have happened in the family car.
- Lunch dates. Take time regularly to go out or have a picnic or sit down to a good homemade lunch at your kitchen table. Great conversations can easily take place over a meal as well as in the car. Use the time to talk about your thoughts and ideas as well as keeping up with theirs.
- Make a “Love is…” box. Every day, spend a few minutes writing down on small pieces of paper examples of what love is to each of you. It could be “Love is putting a treat in your lunch bag,” or “Love is cleaning up without being asked,” or “Love is a kiss on your forehead.” You’ll each learn about all the ways love can be shown and maybe even help each other understand how the other shows love.
- Tell stories from your childhood. Kids are interested in hearing about what their parents were doing at their age. This is a great way to help your teen understand how your experiences have shaped you, see you as more than a parent, and give them a sense of their own history and the dynamics that are shaping their lives.
- Everyday talking. Go beyond the standard, “How was your day?” Ask specific questions about the math test, the progress of the social studies project, whether anything especially good or bad happened today. Know what’s going on in your teenager’s life so that you can follow up on previous talks and know the specific questions to ask.
When you can communicate openly and effectively in this kind of way, it will be much easier to talk with your teenager about the tougher subjects that will come up. Your regular efforts will pay off big time when your teen turns to you for information, comfort, and truth.
See our book 30 Days to a Stronger Child to find lessons related to this topic and learn ways and activities to help your child be stronger!
Caron C. Andrews has been a contributing writer for Educate and Empower Kids since its beginnings. She received her BA in English from the University of New Mexico. In addition to her articles on healthy relationships, healthy sexuality, and combatting pornography addiction, she has copyedited medical books, fantasy novels, and historical dramas. She is currently working on starting a blog and writing a novel. She is the mother of a teenage son and daughter and lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.