Hot Tubs: How to Profoundly Connect with Your Teen
Gone are the days of pigtails and crewcuts, sundresses, and overalls. That little girl who used to sneak into mommy’s special stash of makeup now has a stash of her own. That little boy who would leave daddy’s tools out in the yard to rust…
Well… Who are we kidding? He still does that.
But his creations are now amazing, and you are watching him blossom into a young man right before your eyes.
Your kids are bigger now, but, oh, how much you still love them. They are constantly buzzing to and fro–from school to extracurricular activities to part-time jobs. Are you growing closer together or farther apart?
When everyone, including you, is so busy, it is important to create a culture within your home that keeps everyone connected. Let us help you turn your hot tub time into some of the best time for connecting with your teenager.
How to Connect with your Teenager
1) Desire to know him. When you think about it, what do you know about your teen? Are most of your conversations centered around what he DOES (or what he should be doing) or are they centered around who he IS? An imbalance in this area can leave your teen feeling he is valued only on performance.
Spend some time in your hot tub together, desiring to more deeply understand this man-child in front of you. In the hot tub, he has a captive audience. Use the advantage this great asset offers and get to know your youth.
2) Be interested in her interests. Your teen is leaving the grammar stage and entering the stage of analyzing. While everything used to be about gaining new knowledge, pre-teens and teens are now starting to question the world around them. It’s exciting! She is making conclusions and developing her own worldview, discovering new interests and trying new things. Don’t let her go it alone! Jumping in with her on her interests can create amazing bonds between a teen and her parent.
While you are soaking in the warmth of your spa together, soak up a conversation about what new interests your teenager might have. Then make plans with her to experience one of these new interests together.
3) Make your house the house that he (and all his friends) wants to be at. Teens are looking for quality, authentic, and consistent relationships: both with their peers and with adults. You don’t have to be the party parents in order to be the favorites. Learning to mentor your teen and his friends, providing a safe haven and quality activities for them, and allowing them access to you for guidance and advice will increase your relationship with your youth. Show him you are willing to make a long-term investment. You not only love him, but you also love his friends. Actions that are inclusive will go a long way.
So, open up your hot tub and let your son invite his friends over! You’ll be able to listen to their conversations, learn about their interests and activities, and catch a glimpse into the hearts of your kid and the people who are having great amounts of influence on who he is becoming.
And maybe… just maybe… you’ll find some extra kids to mentor who might not have a parent as great as you in their own home. Invest your influence in those who need your time and attention.
4) Discover her dreams. Your teen isn’t playing dress up anymore. She’s actually trying to decide what to do with her life. Who is she? What are her giftings and talents? Who is speaking into her life and encouraging her? Has she discovered something that she really loves and maybe would like to pursue as a career?
Make a hot tub date with her and listen to her chatter. As the water pours from the waterfall feature on your hot tub, let the words pour from her lips as she shares her heart. And listen. Really listen to the beauty in front of you.
5) Listen more, speak less. There’s something about quiet, late nights that make a teenager want to talk. Right before bed is the perfect time to head out to the hot tub together. While the rest of the household is quiet, retreat to your private one-on-one zone. The combination of the cool night air, the warmth of the water, and the relaxed proximity to each other can facilitate better conversation than you have had with your teen in a long time.
Ask leading questions that draw your child into the conversation and then sit back and listen. Be patient as he learns that he can have a voice that is respected and heard. Growing a boy into a man is no small task. Make time to enjoy hearing from him before the years slip away.
6) Be her biggest champion. No one will ever love your child like you do. Make sure your teen FEELS that. Make sure she lives loved. Be her biggest champion, her biggest advocate, and her biggest support. Make consistent time to let her know that you are her #1 fan as the worries of her life slip away in the comfort of your company.
There’s more to your teenager than video games, tablets, and iPhones. Wise parents understand that having opportunities for continuous conversations are key to maintaining a relationship with their teen and revealing blind spots. Creating a culture of family, friendship and togetherness in your own household will pay off in relational dividends as your youth continues to grow, learn and experience life.
Don’t miss out.
Don’t check out.
Don’t let someone else steal your influence.
These years are precious and few, so invest in the lives of your children. Build a quiet backyard oasis for the purpose of connecting with your teenagers. Dive into their lives, facilitate conversations, and partner with them.
Every teen has a favorite house they like to be at. Is it yours?