Your preteen might look at you as if you're the most embarrassing person on the planet, roll her eyes at you when she thinks you aren't watching or act as if though your advice is prehistoric and not at all relevant to her life when you offer it. Often, this is life when you're the parent of a preteen. The bond you had with your sweet child can change dramatically in the years leading up to her becoming a teenager. Still, it isn’t impossible to bond with your preteen.
Listen to your preteen and offer her your support. If your preteen comes to you with his concerns or problems, listen no matter how trivial or ridiculous you think his problems are. As an adult, you might recognize that your preteen's "huge" problem will no longer seem so huge in a few days and will work itself out; however, you don't want to let him know that you think his problem is childish and that in the scheme of things, it doesn't really matter. Letting him know that's how you feel is not going to help you bond with him. With that attitude, he’s not likely to come back to you for advice or support ever again. Instead, listening to him and offering sympathy and support will leave him feeling confident and close to you, which will help you bond -- and encourage him to talk to you again about his problems.
Spend time together to grow your bond, advises the KidsHealth website. You don’t have to make big elaborate plans that require going out of town or spending a lot of money. You can invite your preteen to help you go shopping or even just to dinner and a movie when you’re feeling bored. This quality time together gives you an opportunity to talk and to share -- and without the distractions of dirty dishes, computers or television, you'll likely find that you both pay more attention to each other and enjoy it. Your bond will grow each time you spend quality time together.
Pick your battles wisely, advises Eve Pearlman in an article for WebMD. You have a much better chance of bonding with your preteen when you pretend you didn’t see him roll his eyes when you asked him to clean his room than you do when you call him out and discipline him for it. Recognize that his behavior isn't so much about you, but rather his way of expressing his feelings about cleaning his room. When you let this go and choose to fight significant battles, such as bad grades or dangerous behavior, your bond will grow.
Tips & Warnings
- Find some sort of common ground and use it to bond with your preteen. For example, if you both like to bake and get creative when it comes to desserts, sign up for a cake decorating class and attend class together. You will bond over your shared interest as well as create memories together.
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