The teenage years can be some of the most challenging and rewarding parts of your parental life. As your child begins to explore their independence, they may start to test the boundaries, but as they grow into adults this time also presents opportunities for you to connect in new ways.
Here are few ideas on how you can stay connected with your teen during times of transition.
Start a show together
From Netflix to Stan, Binge to iView, and even free-to-air (remember when that was the only option?) bonding with your teen over a TV show is a great way to spend regular time together. Choose something that interests both of you, and it may start some great conversations around the content on-screen, in addition to the entertainment time.
Get some fresh air
After school or after dinner, why not get into the habit of walking the dog or getting some exercise together? You can catch up on the events of the day while you get those endorphins pumping, taking in the fresh air and scenery along the way.
Play a game
Family games night, anyone? Take a break from the school/work/eat/sleep/repeat routine and mix up your nights with some friendly competition. There’s a huge collection of games to choose from, as your teen to help you pick a game, and let the fun begin.
Take a class
What’s something your child has always wanted to try? Find out and sign you both up for a class. Whether it’s pottery, painting, yoga, or even horse riding, you’ll be learning something new and connecting through the experience.
This doesn’t necessarily mean heading to the day spa or getting your nails done – you could treat yourselves to a brunch at a local café, a trip to the movies to see the latest release, or buy tickets to a play or footy match. Spending quality time together will provide you with some great memories, and could even be the start some great traditions.
Cook up a storm
Channel your inner Masterchef and whip up some delicious goodies in the kitchen together. Whether it’s a meal for the whole family, or some sweet treats, your teen will learn essential life skills, and stay well fed during busy exam times.
Explore somewhere new
You don’t need to venture far from home to go exploring. Take a Sunday afternoon drive to somewhere you’ve never been before (a great way to get those Learner hours up, by the way!) or explore the walking tracks in your neighbourhood.
Bridging the gap with your teen as they navigate the hardest years of their life so far might seem a little intimidating, but these are simple, enjoyable activities that will allow you to interact without too much pressure. And remember, when it feels hard, you've been in their shoes before – sometimes a simple chat and a listening ear will do the trick.