10 Ways To Tell a Teenager I Love You
Parenting a teenager can be a challenge, a constant power struggle over control and conformity. It’s often way easier to think of ways to punish your teenager than it is to think of ways to enjoy them. However, there is no replacement for the important parent/child bond and having these moments of love and connection are absolutely vital to your relationship. The list below details simple ways to show love to your often unlovable teenager that you love them.
- Write them a letter or a card. Place it on their bed or in their backpack to find later. You can even send it through the mail, so they’ll get something special at the post office.
- Listen. Turn off all the distractions, look your teenager in the eye, and listen. Respond to what they say and encourage them to keep talking. Don’t offer advice, just receive all they have to tell you.
- Make their favorite meal. On a totally unexpected night (not their birthday or a holiday), serve them their favorite meal, even if it means more time in the kitchen. This simple act of service conveys lots of love and nourishes their heart as well as their body.
- Read a book together. Though nights of reading aloud to your child before bedtime may be a distant memory, use this time to discuss a book both of you are reading together. Think of it as a mini-book club.
- Go on a hike together. Being active together in nature is a great way to unwind and reset from the daily stresses of their lives. Don’t talk about anything which brings either of you stress, even if it means you are walking in silence. Companionship may be all they need.
- Play a game. It can be a favorite board game, a quick game of basketball in the driveway or an online game together. Do something where you can have a bit of healthy competition doing something your teenager enjoys.
- Be honest. Even when your teen isn’t, be honest. Even when the questions are tough, answer them honestly. Be your authentic self around your teenager. Demonstrate to them you are an actual human being, too, with your own thoughts and life experiences. Honesty goes a long way to building a good, trusting relationship.
- Get to know their friends. Learn what your teenager likes about them and learn what they like about your child. Loving your son or daughter means respecting and enjoying their friends. Build a team of support around your teenager.
- Encourage them to grow. Send them to a teen summer camp or a teen Christian program. It will be hard to let them go, but giving them the independence they crave in a controlled setting will have them develop maturity and personal responsibility.
- Send them nice texts. A simple “I love you” or “I think you’re great” will provide just the boost of love and encouragement your teenager needs to make it through their day.