Connecting with teens and tweens
How to keep the lines of communication open
Kids live for special and regular moments of connection with their parents and the adults in their lives.
Today’s teens and tweens
(almost teens) were born with
technology at their fingertips.
But technology can create a false
sense of connection.
It’s more important than ever to
talk with your teen or tween to create
a meaningful and lasting connection.
“You don’t always have to talk
about the hard stuff— but you can
create the connection. Then, if they
have a tough issue, they know they
can talk to you,” says Layall Dleikan,
a family therapist with Family
Services of Central Alberta.
Share your teen’s interests
Sharing what your teen is into also
helps build connections.
You can create rituals and routines
that don’t involve technology or
distractions. Kids live for special
and regular moments of connection:
a Sunday bike ride or playing a
favourite game together.
Dleikan says 90 per cent of a
parent’s job is listening.
“Children will put out ‘feelers,’
drop little hints, to see how you’re
going to respond,” she says. “If you
don’t, or you respond negatively, they
know this topic is off limits and won’t
bring it up again. If you discredit
their feelings, they won’t want to talk
But when you connect with your
teen or tween, he’ll reach out when
When times get tough
Dleikan advises parents to share their
own feelings, without interrogating
kids on theirs: “I lost someone” or
“My heart’s been broken, too.”
Remember, if you feel out of your
depth, you can ask for advice from a
family doctor, counsellor or therapist.
Health Link also offers 24-hour
Teenagers can be contradictory.
They try to push away from you.
They wipe off their cheek after you
kiss them. But the moment you stop
can be scary for them.
No matter how hard they push
you away, all children want and
need to feel connected to their
Keep reaching out—it’s never
too late. That connection is going
to anchor their growth and
development for the rest of their