Don't you just hate it when you're learning something new and you hit a button that posts your post before you're finished.
This is take two!! LOL
As we head into the second month of summer, I've been trying to spend more time with my tween and teen (yep, I have one of both). They're boys and often it can be really difficult to find ways to connect with them.
I think in these years it's often easier for dad to connect with boys then it is for us moms.
It was so much easier when they were little. Play with them, cuddle with them, sing to them, etc., but as they grew, we started growing apart just a bit.
That didn't stop me from trying to gain a little connection though. This summer, I made it my mission to figure out more ways to connect with my boys.
Every summer for the last several summers I've created a list of things for us to do together as a family. Through these activities I'm learning a lot about teen and tween boys!
Here we go:
Teens/tweens need to know they are loved and accepted, maybe more than when they were younger: All children need to know and feel they are loved and accepted, but I'm beginning to believe that these things get lost when kids hit the tweens and teens. This is a time of big changes, socially, emotionally, mentally, and physically and they can quickly become overwhelmed, unsure, and lost. They need to hear, see, and be made to feel both love and accepted even when they do things that are not ok.
Give them the chance and they will shock and amaze you: There are certain things I tend to not attempt to do with my boys because I've decided they won't like it. Boy is that the wrong thought process. I'm learning not to assume anything because if I assume it, it's probably wrong. My boys have shocked me and amazed me when they get totally immersed in something I thought they would never want to do--antique shopping comes to mind.
They want to know they are heard, valued, important, and respected: As a parent it can become pretty easy to assume kids don't know a lot which can make it easy to just dismiss their thoughts and ideas. Tweens and teens are in a time in their life when it's very hard to feel 'good enough'. This is where we, as parents, can really connect because we can show them they are heard, their ideas are valuable and respected. Even if we don't implement the ideas, we can still value our tweens and teens by listening and reflecting back to them the value in their thoughts.
They need to de-stress: Life as a teen/tween is not really all that easy. I'm remember being completely stressed when I was that age. Worrying about fitting in, what I would wear, friends, boys, and so much more. It's important that we give our tweens/ teens a chance to 'do' nothing on occasion. This allows them to simply relax, do what they want to do and worry a little less about their lives.
They want to show you their world: When I was growing up life was different. Well, as my children are growing up, life is different. I can struggle to understand everything they do and think. They have never known a world without internet, iPhones, computers, GPS, gaming systems, and things of the sort. Taking time to go into their world and interact with them there can be unnerving to say the least. Learning to play video games or having them show you something new when it comes to your phone gives them a sense of your interest in them and brings a simple connection you would have never imagined. Visit their world occasionally and see if they don't respect you for it.
Figuring out ways to connect with your tween/teen can be a daunting task to say the least. I'm learning that simple is often better. They like to be chill and not over think too much and that's exactly where we need to meet them... on the corner of chill and don't think.