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Staying Connected while Your Teen is Pulling Away

A funny thing happens to children once they reach the teenage years: They don’t seem to want their parents around all that much. Sure, they need to have your presence in their lives. They just don’t want to be reminded of that fact.

This comes as anywhere from a mild surprise to a major shock to parents who are watching their fun-loving 12-year-old become a sullen, more serious 13-year-old seemingly overnight. So, here are a few helpful ways you can still be a part of your teenager’s life without pushing him or her away in the process.

  1. Remember that because a teenager doesn’t say, “I love you” as much as they used to, does not mean a teenager doesn’t love his or her parents anymore. They just don’t want to say it at school, in front of their peers, or when you drop them off in front of a friend’s home.
  2. Keep in mind that, one-day, it’s likely you will have a loving friendship with them. Until then, Mom and Dad, resist the temptation to be one of their peers. Yes, peers are a primary influence right now—and you may want to be a part of your teen’s “inner-circle.” You definitely need to know who these friends are. But you can’t be one of them no matter how much you try.
  3. Don’t forget that your job as a parent is a calling – so treat your kids as gifts from God. This will help you through the lonely days when it seems like your teenager really doesn’t care about you anymore. He or she will eventually get over it. Remember what it was like to be teenager. Keep this in mind and give your child a healthy amount of space when appropriate.
  4. Do the little things to stay connected—even when these seem like they don’t matter to your teenager. Don’t underestimate the positive message you are sending your kids by watching all those sports games, or the hundreds of other ways you are present in their lives. Kids who grow up believing and knowing that their parents will always be there for them can face anything.

by Jim Burns

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