Sometimes the hardest thing to do with your teen is just to talk. Many parents do not have a close relationship with their teenagers and struggle to find common ground on which to build their relationships. Next time you’re at the book store or on Google just look up parent-teenager relationships and you’ll see a plethora of self-help books to help you bond or at least to get along better. If you are struggling to connect to your tween or teen just know, it’s not just you. This is such a chaotic time in your child’s life that some relationships are bound to become strained, especially yours.
As children reach adolescence, everything changes. Their body, their voice, their thoughts, their friends, the subjects they study, the way school is structured, the music they like, the movies they like, literally everything. It’s a time of trying to find independence and striving to be the person they want people to see them as. This can be good or bad but that’s a whole other post on its own. At the same time as a parent, you are seeing outside influences you want to keep your tween/teen from. Sex, drugs, bad friends, vulgar movies and music, bad habits, and just the fear of letting your child go. It’s a rough time for both parent and teen.
Without being preachy or trying to give parenting advice (because I’m not) I think that one way to stay civil, and allow your teen to still know that you are there for them no matter what, is to keep an open form of communication. This doesn’t mean try to be their best friend and tell them that everything they do is good and wonderful if it’s something harmful but this means staying involved without being overbearing. It may sound a little cheesy but continuing to do projects and activities with your older children is still a good way to create bonds. If you want to include younger siblings that’s great or if you want it to be just you and your teen that might be best. All depends on your family situation.
Arts and crafts are a good way to engage with your teen. Just get creative, take into consideration what your teen likes, and looking online for help never hurts. Here are some ideas:
Crafted Love– A collage craft out of newspaper with a painted silhouette on it. You can really use this and make it your own. If you or your teen like a certain movie or song, paint a quote over the newspaper. Here is another example-
You can really use old newspapers for an array of projects; decoupage lamps, folders, clocks, frames, even Light Sockets.
Do you or teen like to garden? Do either of you have a shelf of collectibles? You can paint rocks. I know that sounds horribly not exciting but actually, it can be a good project. You can use painted rocks as decoration around a bedroom, in the kitchen, as bookends, on the front porch, or out in the garden.
Repurposing old books is a popular craft option. The picture to the left would be quite the project to undertake (but look how cool!); however, there are plenty of not so daunting projects you can create with old books. You can make purses, frames, keepsake boxes, pencil holders, art, there’s really pages of ideas on Pinterest or Google.
The important thing is to make this fun. Don’t force your teen to sit and do crafts with you but chances are if you approach them and say “hey I saw this thing I want to try and make, want to help me?” they probably will.