Three ways to let your teen know you care that will
strengthen their connection to you.
1. When school is in session and your teen is away
all day, do you ever wonder where he/she is at that moment
and how his/her day is going? Maybe not all the time but
just sometimes. This is a bit more of a mom thing than a
task oriented dad thing but still it happens. Remember to
let your teen know that your were thinking about him/her.
It does not matter if you have to place it on your PDA to remember – it is that important. It will mean more to them then they let on. They will feel supported and significant. It will lessen the feelings of smallness as they daily and hourly face the Bigness of our culture.
2. Since many of our middle school and high school teens are now equipped with a cell phone, you can turn that into a bonding advantage. During the day, text them a message about how incredible they are or a compliment of something they have achieved along the lines of maturity. It may seem like a small step of progress but a compliment on a small step can cause the next one to be a giant step. Don’t wait til things are tense (although do not hold out just because they are at the moment), but make a part of your weekly or bi-weekly schedule.
3. Many parents make the mistake of what I like to call “comparative parenting”. This is not where parents compare their success against other parents but rather comparing the attitudes, strengths and weaknesses of children to their siblings or friends. Kids will often feel that a parent wants them to be more like him or her or act like this friend or that person. DON’T DO IT! Keep your comparisons to yourself at all cost. For example: Child #1 gets up early, goes through their AM routine as if they were born with an internal Swiss watch. Child #2 likes to sleep and could not hear a freight train if it came through the house as an alarm. Embrace both and find the strengths in both. Never, I repeat never say to your child, I wish you were more like: anyone they know, their age, their kin, their sibling. About the only comparison challenge you can give is if the person is dead, a national figure or a movie character. No harm there if done with sensitivity.