Teenagers can be scary.
There are so many hormones and emotions flying all over the place. You feel like you have to duck for cover when you enter a room with a tween or teen. You never know if you are going to be engulfed in a giant bear hug or given the evil eye with a sinister hiss.
How do I know this information? Well, certainly not from my own adolescence when I was a perfectly well-balanced young woman. (Major sarcasm! I often wonder how my parents survived with their sanity intact.)
I know what a battlefield it can be like when you have teenagers because I have one-and a tween close on his heels! Both are boys that struggle with what many teens are known for-lack of communication skills.
I have learned how hard it can be to connect with teenagers. My brow is often covered with a delicate sheen of sweat when I emerge from a conversation that can be about anything from what is for lunch to the presidential election.
Who knew that it would be so hard to connect with teenagers? I mean, we were all teens once, right?
You know how important it is to stay connected with your teens and tweens. These years are precious and contribute greatly to their future adult status. You want to learn how to connect with teenagers but you leave their presence often asking yourself, “What just happened?”
My friend, you are not alone in your quest to figure out the magic behind building a positive relationship with your teens. To help all of us parents on this grand adventure, I have found 3 Effective & Authentic Ways To Connect With Teenagers that I pray allow us to preserve our sanity and emerge with better family connections.
Disclaimer: I received Quest for Arete: Elemental Card Game to review for free. I was compensated for my time.
As always, I provide my 100% opinion and was not required to give a positive review.
3 Effective & Authentic Ways To Connect With Teenagers
You will be relieved to learn that these three tips are relatively simple and painless. You may actually find yourself enjoying some, if not all, of these suggestions. My advice: just roll with it and have fun! If these ideas help you connect with teenagers, give a silent prayer of thanks and use what works.
1. Share a Journal
This tip is often given to parents to encourage writing and connection with early writers. This practice can be even more powerful with tweens and teens. A journal or notebook, shared with only you, is a private place where your teenager can express their thoughts and feelings.
Teens often become tongue-tied due to hormones or difficulty turning their thoughts into coherent discussion points. A shared journal opens the door for uncomfortable or embarrassing topics to be addressed. Kristina at Thriving Parents shares wonderful reminders in How To Journal With Your Child To Foster Deeper Connection.
2. Side-By-Side Communication
This approach has been highly effective in helping me connect with teenagers. By finding a comfortable activity and sitting side-by-side with my older boys, I have had magnificent conversations that would never have taken place if I had sat them down for a serious face-to-face talk. Two key components make up this successful connection with teenagers: activity and side-by-side body placement.
Teenagers, especially boys, do not always like to be confronted face-to-face. Side-by-side conversation removes the feeling of being attacked. Also, eye contact is not required, allowing your teenager to feel more comfortable and open to talk.
An activity, like driving in the car or washing the dishes, provides a subtle distraction from the topic of conversation. Teenagers are more likely to let their guards down and communicate to you when they have a point of distraction.
Looking for a fun way to connect with teenagers? Take out a board game and start playing! Although many teens prefer video games in our modern society, I contend that board games are the best way to reconnect with teenagers.
Educational games provide a variety of benefits for your teens. Discussion of rules and assigning of tasks can get the conversation started. Board game pieces are physical objects that your teenager can hold and have as a point of subtle distraction. When the game contains engaging and educational material, your teenager will be learning as you connect. Bonus points!
My older boys and I have had the wonderful opportunity to connect in our homeschool using Quest for Arete. This game, designed for ages 12 and up, is a mix of science, magic, and fun. Younger kids (like Smiley who is 7 and wants to do everything that big brothers are doing) can play with older siblings or parents.
The style of play drew my boys into this game-and into talking with me. Cards are divided and each player uses 10 cards per play. You lay your cards out and discover how you can make a match based on information on the card (reminds me of Pokemon) to cast a spell.
Here’s a cool part! Your kids practice reading and adding roman numerals. I love how Quest for Arete adds a dash of math, science, and history learning in here and there. The Apprentice’s Guide to Mastery of the Elements (a.k.a. rule book) is a helpful resource that demonstrates where to find and use information on the cards.
I took advantage of the time it took for us to determine what spells we could cast to bring up a few concerns. Of course, I wove those concerns between general observations and questions related to the game or real life. (Just call my sneaky mom!). I individually played the game with each older boy to give them time and privacy to open up.
Playing Quest for Arete provided me with the perfect chance to connect with my boys. Both boys are interested in magic-themed resources due to their Harry Potter obsessions. With their interest peaked, I was able to easily engage their attention and build trust.
My boys and I did a quick Facebook Live to show you just how cool this game is!
(Older boys were a bit camera shy but not Smiley!)
I highly encourage you to watch the video on the Quest for Arete site for a demonstration of this game. Show it to your tweens and teens. Their eyes will light up with interest. Then, share Quest for Arete’s tagline: “in the real world, this is the magic.” I bet you will be Mom of the Year (or at least get a grunt of approval).
Connect With Your Teens With This Educational Game!
You can find out more and purchase Quest for Arete and its expansion packs here:
- Quest for Arete Starter Set
- Quest for Arete Alchemist Expansion Pack
- Quest for Arete Armorer Expansion Pack
- Quest for Arete Sorcerer’s Expansion Pack
I am so excited to see that Quest for Arete has expansion packs! I told you how Smily loves to do what big brothers do, right? Well, he loves playing this game and it has been a great way to connect with him, too. I know that we will be adding to our starter set and have many years to come of fun and connection.
Guess what? The amazing creators of Quest for Arete gave you, my beloved reader, a super special coupon code! Squeal! When you purchase a Quest for Arete (Q4A) Starter Set, you can get the expansion sets for ONLY $5 EACH (regularly priced $20). Use coupon code: AM2016 (expires December 20, 2016 so don’t dilly dally!)
How do you think games like Quest for Arete can help you better connect with teenagers?