By Sue LeBreton
How can you remind your teen that you hold them fondly in your heart when their behavior is twenty shades of disrespectful? Let me count the ways:
1. Tell them you love them every day- at home, not in embarrassing places.
2. When they walk into a room, let your eyes and face light up so they know you are happy to see them.
3. Start an “I love You” jar or box filled with notes that say, “I love you because you are smart, funny, kind etc.
4. Hug them any chance you get—again, not in public.
5. Keep doing #4, even if you get that “moooommm” whine.
6. Watch a movie together, teen’s choice.
7. Talk about the movie so that you get to know your teen’s opinions and views.
8. Watch a movie together- your choice. If you pick an “old” one it can be fun to see how movie making is evolving and laugh about what was cool in your day.
9. Talk about the movie. Are there similarities or differences between your choices and how do they reflect you as individuals?
10. Read a book together, something neither of you have read so you can discover it together.
11. Play a board game.
12. Go for a walk together. Teens seem more open to conversation when they are not face to face with parents.
13. Look at old photo albums of your teen through the years, and use the time to reminisce.
14. Bake your teen’s favorite cookies.
15. Plan a menu and cook a meal together, it’s a bonding and learning time. Try something exotic if your teen is game.
16. Bring your teen breakfast or brunch (if they are a late sleeper) in bed on a weekend day.
17. Volunteer together. The possibilities are endless: local animal shelter, soup kitchens, volunteer at a fund raising race to cheer on participants–the energy is contagious.
18. On Christmas Eve, leave a special treat on their pillows to see when they wake up on Christmas morning.
19. Learn a card game together.
20. Sign up to train for a Triathlon together. There are many family events and distances for beginners.
21. Have your teen teach you something. It will let them display their competence.
22. Text them an “I love you message.” Use the technology to help you connect emotionally.
23. Start researching a summer road trip together. It will give you both something to look forward to during winter and gives you a conversation starter as your plans evolve.
24. Help your teen plan a gathering of friends at your house. Make your place the soft place to land for your teen.
25. Bake something with your teen and take it to a local seniors’ centre.
26. Learn a magic trick together. It’s good for your brain and fun.
27. Get your heart pumping by trying your teen’s favorite form of exercise.
28. Go to a local comedian’s show (age appropriate of course), or a local artistic performance.
Sue LeBreton is a health and wellness journalist. Mom to a teenage girl and a pre-teen boy, she is determined to keep the love alive through the teen years.
By Sue LeBreton