May 17, 2010
CONNECT WITH YOUR TEEN
Have you connected with your teen lately? I mean really *connected*.
One connection I make with my teen son is to do errands together. He is of the shopping type, I am not, but I make it about him and not me and I invite him to join me and he most always says yes.
We headed to the store to buy shorts and t-shirts. Having money in his pocket to pick out the clothes he wants, try them on and pay for them is huge.
Did I want to ask a million questions about the clothes? Yes! Did I want to actually see them on him when he tried them on? Yes!
Did I? Nooooo. Seriously, does a 13 1/2 yr old boy, a mature one at that, want to come out of the dressing room and show his mom? And having love for his mom has nothing to do with it. It is about independence and freedom and autonomy.
I trusted he knew what he wanted and that the clothes fit him. He needs to make his own choices, every teen does. I believe if children don't start making their own choices when they are young ( with the smaller things) how will they ever make the choices, right for them, once they are out in the world?
The same quote always resonates with me:
Freedom to learn is the way to learn to handle freedom.
Another way to connect with my son is to eat out together, a simple lunch, at a place he likes. Feeling relaxed and eating nourishing food together helps the conversation flow and a good mood always prevails. Sometimes he IS moody. Sometimes he doesn't feel like talking or sharing, but then again, the same could be said for me. It's not just a teen thing.
Once errands are completed , I look for other opportunities. Sometimes it's a stop at the video game store. Remember, it's about him, not me.(I am not at all a gamer.)
Today was a stop at the music store where we stayed for eons amidst guitars, drums, keyboards and sheet music. There was an excitement in the air as conversation flowed on and on and on and he was quite animated discussing the various instruments and his dreams. Music IS his passion.
I smiled and felt happy and content sitting on stools among the guitars listening to my teen, my knowledgeable, mature teen. When did he grow up?
He grabbed an acoustic off the rack and started playing softly as he continued talking.
The moment was so real and felt magical...a true connection.
I gave him all the time in the world, was present in the moment and listened to him with all my heart.
Sometimes I forget that we both *need* these connections on a regular basis. Life can get so busy and crazy but connections really need to come first. . .there's nothing more important than the relationship with your child.