Simple Ways to Connect with Your Teen

As parents, when we gaze at our teens, we are flooded with complex thoughts and feelings. How did they grow up so fast? Why, if we love them so much, do they drive us so crazy? We long for the connection that we once had with them when they were younger. All these thoughts and feelings are normal. But what is the best way to connect with your teen?

The teen years are full of changes, from physical changes that we can visualize, like height and hairstyle choices, to those we cannot see, like their thoughts and feelings. They, too, are caught in the middle of this just as much as we are, full of hormones, feelings, and pressures. This can make life feel like a roller coaster for us and them!

In the midst of this, it is easy to feel disconnected. When their preferences change, we may not recognize what they enjoy. When their feelings are all over the place, we may not feel like engaging or even know how. When busy schedules change routines, we may miss the opportunities for connecting.

While you may not be able to change what is happening, you can still find ways to connect. With some creativity and willingness to try, you and your teen can connect in new ways that strengthen your relationship.

Here are a few simple things you can try to enhance your connection with your teen.

Connect with your teen by watching what they watch

Notice what your teen is watching on television or what movies they like. They may not invite you to watch with them, but that does not mean you cannot watch. When you take note of what they are enjoying, set aside time to watch it on your own. Try to reserve judgment and simply watch.

The next time they are watching their show, mention that you started watching it. Tell them about a character you like or a plot twist that surprised you. Your teen will notice that you care about what they like. See if they invite you to watch with them. If they do not, take the lead and suggest watching an episode together.

Have their favorite snacks on hand

Teaching your kids healthy eating habits is an important part of parenting, but it is ok to have some flexibility, especially as a means of connecting with your child.

Sometimes they want chips or ice cream. Other times they will want the biggest strawberries or some new seltzer. Do what you can to make these items available. Even try to enjoy them with your teen.

This small effort can help your child feel loved and seen. It will also give you something to enjoy together!

Welcoming their friends helps connect you to your teen

Many teens feel an important connection to their friends. This is also true of people they are dating. When you open your home and your heart to their friends, it shows them that you care about them. Plus, it means they are home a little more.

Be the house your child wants to bring their friends to. This does not mean you should disregard any rules or family standards. However, you can be welcoming in ways that matter. Have cookies or snacks in the kitchen when your teen and their friend come in. Ask questions. Be curious about their opinions.

Ask about their day. Allow your teen to bring a friend when you go somewhere. When you care for their friends, you are caring for your teen at the same time. They may not say how much it matters, but they will see you trying, and every little connection counts.

Let your teen choose

One of the most common things teens want is to be heard. They want to know that what they think, feel, or want is valued. Show your teen this by letting them choose. This can be something as simple as a restaurant you go to or something more involved like an activity you do on vacation. It is not about what you do; it is about giving them a voice and honoring it.

Ask for help

You can ask your teen for help. This shows vulnerability and recognizes their growing independence, and the gifts, skills, and knowledge they are gaining as they mature.

You can also ask God for help. God loves healthy, connected family relationships. Ask Him to show you things you can do to connect with your teen. Be on the lookout for opportunities He gives you to spend time with them and value them. He is faithful to hear you and answer you.

When you need help to connect with your teen

Your relationship with your teen may feel hard. While this is normal to some degree, you do not need to wrestle with it alone. You can talk to a counselor about what you can do to connect with your teen. Likewise, your teen may find individual counseling valuable or even want to pursue family counseling to discuss things together.

All these ideas can assist you in improving and strengthening your relationship with your child. Feel free to contact us at Newport Beach Christian Counseling to see how one of the Christian counselors in Newport Beach, California can help.

“Cooking”, Courtesy of Annie Spratt,, CC0 License; “Checking Social Media”, Courtesy of Luke Porter,, CC0 License; “On the Beach”, Courtesy of Getty Images,, Unsplash+ License


Articles are intended for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice; the Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All opinions expressed by authors and quoted sources are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors, publishers or editorial boards of Newport Beach Christian Counseling. This website does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site. Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk.