As your child matures, your relationship with him evolves. During the teenage years, your once-dependent child yearns for independence. While this desire for more freedom is healthy and normal, it can cause some strife between you and your teen. Fortunately, you can bond with your teen and maintain a close parent-child relationship as he moves through adolescence. Learning how to bond with your teen can positively impact your relationship for years to come.
Your teen might be increasingly self-sufficient and crave independence, but that doesn't mean your involvement in her life should change. Strengthen your bond with your teen by staying available and interested, advises "Connecting With Your Teen," a publication from the US Department of Health and Human Services' Child Welfare Information Gateway. Ask her about her day at school. Support her in her extracurricular interests, whether she's in the band, on the soccer team or star of the school play. Be a visible source of support for your teen during important moments in her life. That support can help you maintain a strong relationship with your teen as she matures into an adult.
Pick Your Battles
You might feel that all your interactions with your teen are arguments. Strengthen your bond by picking your battles. Your teen is going to assert his independence, and he is going to make impulsive decisions from time to time. Be flexible in your parenting, focusing on teen behavior that has serious, dangerous, and long-term consequences, suggests the University of Washington's CareLink. Poor decisions that do not have long-lasting effects can become learning experiences for your teen rather than opportunities for you to lecture or discipline him.
Parenting your teen is challenging at times, but don't focus on the negative. Instead, celebrate your teen's successes, recommends the University of Washington. When she honors her curfew, thank her. When her hard work pays off with a high GPA, toast her at a family dinner. When she gets into her dream college, tell her how proud you are of her. Celebrating your teen's successes, from good decisions to major achievements, strengthens your bond, showing her how much you love and respect her.
Set Aside Quality Time
Your teen's increasingly busy schedule, desire for independence and relationships with his friends can get in the way of family time. Set aside quality time to spend with your teen regularly so that you can stay involved in his life, proposes Planned Parenthood in an article on "Parent-Teen Relationships." Whether you go out to breakfast on Saturday mornings, chat with him every evening before bed or gather around the dinner table for a family meal, you can improve your relationship with your teen during this time reserved for him. These ordinary moments give your teen an opportunity to share and express his feelings with you.