Teens are weird. One minute they want to spend all their time with you and the next thing you know they’re holed up in their room with their headphones in and ignoring everyone. It’s not just mine, right?
My parents have always been involved with my kids, and as my oldest has grown, their relationship has evolved. He still wants to spend time with them, but it doesn’t look like it used to.
Here are some tips that have helped them stay connected and bridge the gap.
Technology is key. My parents are, thankfully, pretty tech savvy. This has helped because they can send texts back and forth with their grandkids, sometimes even just GIFs. My son gets a kick out of it because it’s a “private” conversation and he realizes that if they’re taking time out of their day to check in with him he knows he’s loved.
Understand interests don’t stay the same. Growing up he loved digger trucks and construction sites. My dad let him drive the Bobcat and “help” with chores. As a teen, his preference is as little physical labor as possible. He will help when asked, especially by his grandparents, but it is not his first choice of ways to spend time together. It’s important that grandparents realize this and find similar interests and run with it.
Know that distance does not mean dislike. As stated at the beginning, teens don’t always want to spend time with anyone but their friends or electronics. If you ask your grandchild to do something with you and they don’t want to don’t take offense. Teens are still trying to figure out hormones and everything else happening to them, add in drama at school and sometimes they just need a minute to chill. Wait a few days or a week and when you have another chance to do something ask again.
Being a teen once and now raising one, I know that no one understands what they’re going through and everything that happens to them has never happened to anyone before. I try to remind family (and myself) that he is figuring it out and to fill him with as much love as possible. Soon enough, he won’t be hanging out in his bedroom all day and we won’t have the opportunities to spend the quality time we want with him.