Connecting with your teenager can be challenging for many reasons – teens trying to assert their independence, busy schedules, and so on. Even finding a topic of conversation that interests your teen can be hard.
However, connection is critical to every relationship. Connection builds trust. Connection helps us assume the best intentions of one another. Connection makes it easier to hold one another accountable and provide important feedback.
Building connection is an active, not a passive process. You must put forth intentional and consistent time and effort to build connection. Sometimes connection opportunities will simply appear, and you must be ready to take advantage of those moments when they arise. More often, you must create opportunities for connection. Below is a list of connection opportunities you can take advantage of, as well as a list of questions you can ask to get the conversation started.
- Travel – car rides, plane rides, bus rides, are great opportunities for connection as both parties are captured.
- Shared tasks – sometimes conversation and connection are easier when you are also working on a task, like cooking or yard work
- Game Night
- If you could go anywhere in the world at no cost, where would you travel? Why?
- If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose to live? Why?
- Describe your perfect day.
- Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses, or 1 horse-sized duck?
- You can invite 4 people to dinner (dead or alive), who would you invite? Why those individuals?
- What is the best meal you’ve ever had? (Consider cooking that meal with your teen)
- What words would your friends use to describe you?
- What achievement are you most proud of?
- If you had to enter an eating contest, what food would you want to eat?
- If you could attend any event at no cost (Super Bowl, a concert, New Years in Sydney, AU, etc.), what event would you attend?
Remember, not every connection point needs to be a long, deep conversation. Consistency is more important. If you have consistent conversation, depth will come.