Parents become aware of the “empty nest syndrome” as their children grow and become more independent. It is the bewildered feeling of realising you haven’t seen your son in three days or that your daughter is more out of the house than in it. While it can thus be harder to connect with them, all is not lost, because there are things you can do to build a positive relationship with your teen . Here are some suggestions to stay connected to and relevant in your adolescent’s life.
1. Stay updated on their schedules
Many teens never seem to be at home simply due to their hectic schedules, and they also tend to have later sleep and wake times compared to adults. One of the easiest ways to see them more is to work around their schedule to make that connection.
It could mean staying up to see them when they return home late, or making a conscious effort to find chunks of their free time for precious family time. Whether it is sharing a meal or doing a favourite activity together, simply being with your teen will alleviate the “empty nest syndrome” a little and strengthen that parental bond.
2. Follow your teen’s lead
Another way to connect is by finding opportunities to pursue new interests with your teen, or spend one-on-one time together. Your teen could be interested in playing badminton, learning to crochet, or in outdoor activities . Join and support your adolescent in pursuing this interest, and it will be an opportunity to bond and make memories, while creating a common topic to chat about.
3. Schedule regular family time
Mark the calendar for a time set aside for the entire family. This could be a weekly family dinner together, board games once a month, or even a movie night. Whatever the family activity, making time for this will be a great bonding time and essential for building your relationship.
4. Take an interest
One of the best ways to stay relevant in your teen’s life is to take an interest in the things he or she enjoys. Ask about your teen’s interests and be willing to learn and participate in the interests if you can. This will help you better understand him or her, making your teen feel heard, and bringing you closer together.
5. Be willing to let go
As illogical as it sounds, a crucial part of connecting with your teen could be giving them the freedom they need to grow. Instead of always keeping your child close to you like before, this could mean giving him or her the space to spend time with friends, make their own decisions and experiment a little. While it is a delicate balance between giving too much freedom and being too controlling, finding that happy middle could mean a happier teen who will enjoy the quality time spent with the family.