Staying Connected with your Teen this Summer – Part 1

Welcome to Summer, Parents!!

We are kicking it off at Teen Speak with a two-part blog series – Staying Connected with your Teen this Summer ☀️

I hear it every year – Dr. Jen, what is my teen going to do ALL summer?!

June hits and the realization sets in that your teens have a few months off of their regular, structured routine and then fear kicks in…

Who are they hanging out with?
Are they staying busy enough?
Are they too busy? Should they be relaxing more?
Is it okay for them to get a summer job?
They are staying up all night and sleeping in too late…

The list goes on 😉 But I’m here to tell you – there are many ways to have fun and connect with your teen this summer, and also give them the independence and time with friends that they crave! It’s all about finding that sweet spot in your relationship with them. 

In this post, I’ll be sharing TWO of your four summer superpowers as a parent of tweens and teens! Watch for our July blog as we unveil the other two – but I promise, these two will provide you with plenty of action items to kick off the summer 🙂 

  1. Allow your teenagers the freedom to hang out with their friends. If we recognize that our teens want the independence to skateboard, go to a pool, see a movie and create fun TikTok videos with their friends – the power struggle you may have experienced in the past will lessen dramatically this summer! Healthy boundaries are important of course, and as a family you can talk with your teen to design curfews and days of the weeks that are “family only” times. Start the conversation with something like “You want more freedom to do things with your friends this summer and we also want to enjoy family time together. What days of the week can we set aside for family time after 5pm?”. For more examples of discussion starters with your teen, my Teen Speak Crack the Code: 7 Day Challenge covers this in-depth!
  1. Activity Bucket – this is where it gets fun! Once you’ve established “family only” times, hand your teen 10-20 slips of paper and a pen and ask them to write activities that they want to do as a family (or 1:1 with a parent) this summer. You are giving them absolute control of choosing what they get to do with you! Having more control is key for positive teen development! Just be sure to outline the rules or cost-limits. It’s best to give them 2 or 3 “high-ticket” activities like shopping at the mall, Top Golf, manicure/pedicure or even renting jet skis! This will look different for each family according to the budget and the activities your teen and family enjoys. But give them free reign to write down a bunch of smaller activities as well. If they need help brainstorming – throw them ideas like basketball and picnic dinner at the neighborhood park, watching a newly-released movie as a family or a bike ride on the trail with dad! Then, pick one activity each week (or every other week depending on your schedule) out of the activity bucket and have fun as a family! This will allow you to stay connected doing things that your teen CHOOSES to do. The “I don’t know what I want to do” response is a thing of the past!

Summer is meant to be fun and enjoyed, but trust me – I get how stressful and overwhelming it can be when you feel like your teens are running around town and you’re still caught in your regular work schedule! This is where communication and compromise is HUGE. Give yourself a gift this summer and step into my Teen Speak Cracking the Code 7 Day Challenge – in 5 minutes a day you will gain the skills and confidence you need to develop a trustworthy and communicative relationship with your teens and tweens 🙂 

Dr. Jennifer Salerno

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