The teen years can be difficult. Many parents cite tension and distance in their relationship with their growing children. But there are ways to close that gap and improve that tension.
The tween and teen years can be full of turmoil and raging emotions, but they can also be enjoyable. Staying connected, however, requires balance and intentionality. Parents of growing teens face the challenge of joining in the fun while giving them the freedom to be teens.
Parents can do everything from developing a deep friendship with their teen while also staying on top of the necessary parental responsibilities. Those responsibilities are especially important during the transition from tween to teen driver and finding car insurance under parents.
It may seem like an overwhelming task, but it is doable and more than worthwhile. Fortunately, there are several ways to develop and grow this connection with your teen.
Benefits of Staying Connected with Your Teen or Tween
Professionals and parents alike have long supported a close connection between parents and their teenage children. Establishing and maintaining this connection is not only great for parents and the family as a whole, but it’s also beneficial for teens themselves.
In fact, there are mounds of research that support these findings. Research shows that a close relationship between parents and their teenage children improves mental health, decision-making, and even self-esteem.
How to Stay Connected with your Teenager
Staying connected and developing a deeper relationship with your teen takes time, energy, and effort. This kind of relationship won’t happen overnight, either. It’s about persistence even when things get hard. Luckily, there are surefire ways to work toward and maintain this connection.
#1 – Be Available
The best way to be connected is to simply be available. Teens are often dealing with large emotions and difficult personal situations. In these moments, teens need a listening ear, a supportive shoulder, and strong words of encouragement. Make yourself available when these moments arise.
#2 – Communicate Positivity
When teens choose to open up and communicate their thoughts or feelings, it’s important not to respond too hastily or too negatively. Parents should allow their teens the space to safely share their feelings without rushing to critique, correct, or shut them down.
#3 – Hug Them
Physical connection can be difficult as children grow into teens. As teens grow older they may feel that the time has passed for hugs from mom and dad. The truth is, however, that physical touch, like hugs, is still beneficial.
#4 – Have Fun
Everyone wants to have fun, especially teenagers. It can be difficult for parents to separate themselves from the authoritative parent position, but find a moment for fun.
#5 – Listen Closely
The words teens share with parents are often packed with emotion. These emotions give more clues as to what is going on in their lives and in their hearts. Listen for the emotions behind the words. Listening for and empathizing with these emotions will make teens feel secure and understood.
#6 – Connect Over Shared Interests
The interest and activities teens enjoy can be foreign to parents. It’s important, however, that parents invest time and energy into the interests of their teens. It can be as simple as striking up a conversation and asking questions.
These small moments can help establish a deep connection with your teen. It’s just one way to support their interests and pursuits. Invest the time and it will pay dividends.
#7 – Make Time for a Special Activity
Parents and teens can both have very busy schedules. It can be difficult to make space for quality time. An easy way to make time for your teen is to share a special activity.
#8 – Be Calm and Stay Put (Tackle the Hard Stuff)
Emotions can run high in the teen years. Personal issues and raging hormones can make it difficult for teens to stay calm when situations get tough. As a parent, stay calm and engaged to help your teen work through the issue.
Trust, Driving, and Car Insurance
One of the biggest shifts in the teenage years is the transition from tween to teen driver. Not only are there concerns of separation and safety on the road itself, but also of the cost of getting cheap teen insurance. Parents are often concerned, and rightly so, but this transition is also the chance to build trust.
Teens need to be given the opportunity to learn and grow, but parents want these opportunities to be as safe as possible. Everything from the best car brands for teens to the best classes and roadway safety is taken into consideration when teens start driving. As parents, we want to know our teens are safe on the road.
Fortunately, there are ways to give teens the space they crave while still supporting and protecting them. One of those opportunities is to keep a teen on a parent’s insurance policy until they reach 25 years old. Sharing an insurance policy will keep rates lower for young drivers and allow parents to have an extra set of eyes on their developing driver.
Laura Gunn writes and researches for the car insurance comparison site, CarInsurance.org. She is an experienced teacher and aunt to teenagers. Laura is passionate about parents and caregivers staying connected as children become teens to help them develop into confident, independent adults.