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5 Ways To Reconnect With Your Teen (And Minimize The Eye-Rolls!) BY DANICA TREBEL

By Chared Cincoflores

Once…just once…wouldn’t it be ah_MAY-zing to have a conversation with your teen that ended in a high-five rather than the typical arms-crossed, eye-roll, disgusted-sigh side stance? Or even better in the the kind of relationship where you kids actually WANT to spend time with you? You may be thinking, “Yeah, right. Like THAT will ever happen,” inserting an eye-roll of your own. Or “Man, that would be amazing…but at this point there’s just no hope.”

But what if it could happen? What if there was hope? And what if it’s as simple as 1-2-3 (4-5)? Would you be willing to change the course of your family’s legacy by changing how you communicate with your teenager? After all, what she learns from you is how she will treat her own family when the time comes. So right now is the time to start reconnecting (or start connecting) with your teen while you have the chance.

There is hope; it is possible; and here are five ways to get the process started today:

1. Wear their shoes. Not literally... but, well, if you can fit into them…go for it. Think back, though, to when you were a kid. What were the top three things you wanted most from your parents? Their time, their attention and their acceptance, right? All you really wanted to know was that your mom and dad liked you; that they saw you as a person with ideas, talents, feelings and dreams; and that they wanted to spend time with you. It’s no different for your teenager. You have a very short window of time before your son leaves home for good…get to know him now so you can live with no regrets later.

2. Eat dinner together. One of the most powerful ways to get and give your kids’ attention is around the table. If this is a lost art form in your home, there’s a good chance it’ll be a struggle to get everyone together. It might even be awkward once you do, but do it anyway. Start conversations where “fine” is not an option for an answer. Ask, “What was your favorite part of the day…and why?” or “Tell me three of the most ridiculous things you heard today.” Listen to hear what they’re saying and then ask even more follow-up questions to keep the conversation flowing. One day you’ll look back on these “table talk” memories and realize they were some of the most inexpensive yet priceless moments ever.

3. Have fun. In today’s society, “fun” is almost a four-letter word. You’re either too stressed from work to have fun or your kids are too busy with school and figuring their lives to make time for fun. Fun fact: YOU are in charge of your calendar and the activities that go on it, so have a family huddle and make plans to do at least one thing a month that each person in your family enjoys – and then do them!

4. Keep it real. Nothing builds trust, earns respect and minimizes the eye roll more than honesty and vulnerability – from both sides of the conversation. Have age-appropriate talks with them about the reasons behind your not wanting them to do certain things. When your teens understand you’re truly looking out for them because “you’ve been there,” they’re going to be more willing to share their perspectives and their own reasons for needing to learn certain life skills. Once everyone is on the same page, you can together come up with a plan where everyone agrees and everyone wins.

5. Be consistent. Eye-rolling and foot stomping don’t become habits overnight, so it’s going to take a little stickiness on your part to walk this thing out. There is no greater investment you can make than the time and attention you pour into your kids, and let’s be honest: aren’t a few weeks or months of awkward reconnecting way better than a legacy of blame, shame and expensive corrective eyewear you’ll forever be responsible for paying?