Connecting With Older Teens

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How can we connect with teens?

Biologically, teenagers are starting to seek independence and push away from adults - particularly their parents. This is a time when they are starting to look toward their adult life and feel like they no longer need parenting.

However, they still need us! And kids from hard places need this connection even MORE -- as we know that connection is the very thing that helps the healing process from trauma.

Here are some ideas for connecting with teenagers from been-there-done-that families:

This is a great way to spend time together and have opportunities to talk without having to be face to face. This can be a drive to the store, a drive to see a new place, or even just a drive for the sake of taking a break!

What a wonderful way to have some physical touch and have fun at the same time!

Sharing recipes, working together on a common goal, and getting to practice language together are priceless.  And then there’s the added perk:  tasting your goodies!

Puzzles are great for kids!  They get to work on a task, it’s a quiet, calming activity - and when you do it together, you get to have the celebration of finishing together, too!

Uno, Jenga, Monopoly are all favorites worldwide.  Games are a great way to have fun together!

Both humans and the dogs get some exercise which helps everyone feel better!

Kids love this!  A movie (with subtitles if available), snacks and goodies, and it’s a night of fun!

I love doing crafts!!  My teens, not as much.  But they do humor me and we enjoy spending the time together creating things.  This can be floral arrangements, painting, craft kits from 5-Below or Michael’s, sidewalk chalk art, pottery painting, canvas art - the possibilities are endless.

One of my favorites!!  Coming up with a project, planning it, and executing it.  Pinterest is full of ideas, but I’ve seen all kinds of projects that get teens involved and it’s great for connecting!

This could be serving at church, working with a homeless shelter or soup kitchen, work at an animal shelter - anything where you get to be together and work together to help someone else.


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Traci Mai


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