10 Easy Strategies to Improving Your Relationship with Teens and Children

Create the family life you have always wanted.

Tell Stories

Develop a sense of history and deepen a sense of self with family stories.

Children love hearing stories about themselves when they were babies, stories when parents were children, first Christmas

Telling stories surrounding them helps children develop deeper senses of themselves, they understand their reasoning, put things into perspective and enjoy hearing about how they have developed, changed, been silly.

Idea:  Pick out 2 or 3 family photos and tell the whole story behind the picture, where you were, who was involved, what was going on, what you remember and what moment you captured. 

Develop a Strong Sense of Family

A strong sense of family focuses attention on us and away from other families and friends.  Define what makes your family special, unique and verbalize it.  Help your children understand why and how you make decisions.  For example, our family cooks a meal every night, we choose to eat healthy, I choose this bread because it contains whole grains and no hydrogenated oils.  This is better for you because  …

Allow your child to be proud of the differences rather than desire to be the same as others.  If we buy these shoes, we’ll save $10.00 from those shoes.  We’ll have enough to get X also.

Example: another typical conversation may go:

Our family enjoys movies.  Some families don’t watch movies together, but our family sits together and watches movies.  We talk about the movies so we all understand them.  I think you are special because we do this.  I enjoy spending fun time together like this.

Define Your Boundaries

Help your child define what his family is.  Create the definitions of your family that make you and your family special and unique.

Our family boats a lot or we go to the pool together or our family works together to make this doghouse.  Or our family eats a lot of ice cream; we’re an ice cream family.

We’re lucky to have a grandma nearby.  Children aren’t always aware that other families are different than they are.  When they meet Jody next door, your child assumes Jody has all the things your family has and what he can see, more toys, a stay at home mom or a dad, new shoes, or yearly Disney visits.

Create Rituals

Create Family Rituals

Rituals are comforting and safe for children.

A ritual is something your family “does”.  For example, look at your family ritual at holidays.  Create additional rituals like every morning we …

Every weekend our family…

Once a month …

Every summer we…

When it rains all day, our family gets movies and makes gumbo soup that cooks all day.

Create a Sense of Safety

Reminds of the importance of family Allow your children to feel safe. Safety is created through trust.  Key relationships are developed through time and stability.  Be a stable force in your child’s life by being consistent, calm and confident of your choices.

Spend Ordinary Time Together

Allow your family unstructured time to enjoy each other and relax.

Allow children to participate in cooking and enjoy that togetherness.  Don’t pressure them to finish or do a whole job, just come in and stir or if age appropriate, cut up a vegetable and ask how their day was.

Create Specific Bedtime Rituals for Each Child

Each child is unique with interests, talents, strengths, and weaknesses.  Allow each child time at bed time to decompress and express themselves to you.  Try not to rush through bedtime anxious to get to your own decompress time, but enjoy this time, relax into it.  Have real conversations with your child, develop individual rituals specific for each child and each personality.  One child may enjoy a back scratch, while another enjoys a story or a few moments to connect with you.  As you know your child and connect with them, they will express their needs to your.  Let them express themselves with you at this time.

Idea: Brainstorm with your family rituals you may already have like worship services together, pancakes on Saturday morning, or Sunday dinner.   Decide which rituals you would like to have or add in, and celebrate what makes you a family.  Embrace & enjoy your family rituals as a comfort and sense of home for your children.

Talk with Your Children

Rather than just dictate chores or talk at your children, ask open ended questions and/or questions they can relate to.  For example:  “What did you talk about in science today? Or How did that homework turnout?”

Take a few seconds and listen to their answer.  Ask for follow up when an answer seems evasive or a shrug off.  I don’t know if you guys talk about the moon cycle or did you have a different subject?  Or who did you talk to at lunch?  Jake Absten is a good friend isn’t he… allow your child to answer with his own intensity.

What was your favorite thing today?  Allow your child to express likes and dislikes but follow up answers with “Well, why was that?”

Spend the extra effort to engage and listen, your children will notice.

Pay Attention to Your Language

Using we (meaning family) includes your child in on decisions and statements, this lets them feel included in decision making and puts them on a higher status.

Using I presumes you made decisions solely and without including the children.

If in fact you have made a decision without including the children’s language appropriately by stating I have decided or your father/mother and I decided this because we feel ………..and we were thinking………..

For example,

Your mom and I decided this was the best after school club because it included homework and a safe environment.  I know you wanted to try a different after school care, but your mom and I remember when this incident happened and how much you disliked that.  We thought you might not like any after school program after a few weeks.  Because this one is safe and has so many people you already know, we feel this will work out better.

Be Positive of Their Teachers, Coaches, and Other Authority Figures in Their Life

Be an encouraging force for the other authority figures in your child’s life.  Support what the teachers/coaches have to say.   He/she looks up to these forces in his life.  Negative statements can cause splitting and divided loyalties. This causes your child to doubt you and your word and hence themselves.

Your goal is to strengthen their sense of self and family.

Even if you disagree with the coach or teacher’s approach, find the wisdom in their way in addition to your own approach to collaborate with, rather than fight against them.

Allow them to learn as they have the opportunity, you have the opportunity to teach a second method and find for themselves what works.

Find Time for Play

Find time for play in life

Play is all over – find play in chores, brushing teeth, cleaning rooms, and laundry and bath time.   Make games out of watering the flowers or tomatoes, time who can finish emptying the dishwasher fastest, enjoy getting wet and washing the ear, who wins vitamin bingo, play the radio while doing chores and sing along, who lip syncs the best, who walks in line the best, who can pick up the most in 5 minutes.

Find time to play in the yard – allow yourself to play board games – take a break from work and allow yourself to do something fun.

About the author: Nicholas H. Parker is a content editor at the service where you can buy essay online. He used to manage the content team at the company he worked for. Currently, Nicholas writes articles to share his knowledge with others and obtain new skills. Besides, he is highly interested in the web design sphere.


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