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Staying Connected to Your Teenager: 6 Ways to Show You Care

Being a teen these days is hard with a capital H. Teens experience pressure in every aspect of their lives, and they need ongoing encouragement during these difficult years, especially from their parents.

Teens face packed schedules and intense demands, and parents must manage the overwhelming day-to-day busyness that leaves little room to do much else. Staying connected to your teenager can get lost in all the things we need to do each day.

That doesn’t mean we should let the little things that say a lot to our big kids go by the wayside.

6 Easy Ways Parents Can Support Teens:

1. Send an upbeat text.

On a random day, send your teen a text filled with a positive message. It can be about anything. If your teen’s having a hard week, send a note of encouragement by telling them they make you proud. If your teen has a test that day, send a good luck text telling them they’ve got this! Even a simple “I love you” can (secretly) make their day. Let your teen know you’re thinking about them at times they think you aren’t. When kids know they are loved and supported, it can go a long way.

2. Offer to help.

Before your teen goes to bed, ask this: “What can I do for you tomorrow to make your life easier?” Asking this question will let them know you’re aware of all they’re doing, and how you want to help in any way you can. Offering this open-ended question gives ample room for your teen to ask for help with something they might not previously have mentioned, or maybe address an issue they wanted to handle alone. If they are stumped and say they can’t think of anything, surprise them with something you know they will appreciate, such as baking their favorite brownies, doing a load of laundry, buying lunch and dropping it at school, picking up poster board for that report, etc.

3. Leave a hand-written note in their room.

It doesn’t have to be a literary masterpiece filled with an exorbitant amount of praise. No teen wants that kind of sap from their parents. Just a simple note will do. Scribble a smiley face or heart and write, “Love you no matter what.” Or maybe write a funny joke or a quote that reminds you of them, or a song lyric from one of their favorite artists. Anything written will tell them they are important and loved in their home.

4. Let your teen overhear you brag about them to others.

When you’re on the phone talking with someone, or you run into someone you know, and your teen is within earshot, make sure to share some positive things they are doing (if the conversation allows for that). It’s important to make sure your teen doesn’t overhear you complaining and never openly discuss your teen’s challenges with others in front of them. Remain positive and highlight the good things, instead. The more our kids hear us talking positively about them, the more they will believe it for themselves—and feel more secure and confident in who they are. In the end, every teenager needs that.

5. Show up—as much as you possibly can.

Try your best to make it to that game, attend that event, go to that concert. We are all busy, but when we show up for our kids, we convey that they are important to us and what they are doing is a priority in our lives. Parents can’t attend every single activity our kids participate in, but we can surely try. More importantly, keep your full attention on your kid when you are at their event. Put away your phone, stop talking to that friend, and watch your kid play, perform, speak, etc. Your teen deserves that.

6. Buy your teen a small gift for no reason at all.

When least expected, buy your teen something small that shows you are thinking about them. When you’re out doing errands or traveling for work and see an item that reminds you of your teen or you spot something you know they would love, get it. Wrap it up and give it to them, just because you know they would like it. It’s not what the gift cost, but the fact that you thought about them that makes them feel special.

It doesn’t take too much time, money, or effort to do these 6 simple things, so why not let our kids know that we believe in them and love them.

A little goes a long way.

Christine Carter

Christine Carter writes at TheMomCafe.com and her work is published at a variety of online publications. She is also the author of Help and “Hope While You’re Healing: A woman’s guide toward wellness while recovering from injury, surgery, or illness and “Follow Jesus: A Christian Teen’s Guide to Navigating the Online World.”