Bonding with middle school aged kids is not always easy. They’re at that age where they’re not little kids anymore so they’re not interested in the same things they used to enjoy. At the same time, many tweens are searching for their own unique identity and that can be a rough journey for your child. Your tween may go through a lot of changes and peer pressure can be tough to deal with, which is why it’s so important to keep the communication line open and find ways to bond with your tween.
What can you do to help? This can be tough for parents, especially if your child is trying to pull away from you and seek independence. How can you bond, while still allowing your middle schooler to find himself? It’s a delicate balance, but it’s definitely possible.
Kids this age need a good parental figure in their lives to help guide them down the right path and encourage them to make good decisions. Bonding helps you become the person your child comes to when they need help or when faced with a difficult decision.
Here are eight awesome tips for bonding with your middle schooler.
1. Read books together.
This is a great way to bond with kids in this age group. Make it more fun by treating it like a mini-book club. Choose a book and then each of you read a chapter during the week. Designate a specific day to get together and talk about what has happened so far, how you feel about it, and what you expect to happen next in the chapter.
2. Plant a garden or do some other exciting activity.
When bonding, it’s important to do things together and watching TV shows or movies does not count. You need a fun, exciting, or interesting activity to truly make an impression on your child. When he thinks of you, he’ll remember planting and tending to that beautiful garden or whatever activity you choose. Fond memories such as this will help bring you closer together.
3. Learn something new together, or teach your child a new skill.
Is there something you always wanted to do but never took the time to learn? Learn it now, together with your tween. This could be anything from doing simple home and auto repairs to life skills such as cooking.
4. Reminisce about old times.
Your child probably does not want to hear your whole life story and how tough things were when you were a child. He will, however, be interested in how you dealt with situations similar to what he is going through. If you want him to let you in his life, you have to first let him into yours.
5. Listen to his stories.
Kids have some exciting and informative stories to tell if you have the time to really listen and engage in the conversations. Ask questions and listen to how your child feels about the events taking place in his life. Keep your questions focused on the story at hand and don’t drill him for information. As the bond between you strengthens and trust grows, he’ll start to share more personal information with you.
6. Trust him to do the right thing.
You’ve taught him right from wrong. Now give him a chance to put what you’ve taught him into action. You learn through experiences but if every move you make is controlled by your parents, how can you learn. If you want to bond with your child, let him make some of his own decisions when it’s appropriate. If he makes a bad decision, be there to help him through it.
7. Plan a night out.
Go out and spend a few hours with your tween. Go shopping for a new video game, see a movie, or go out to dinner at his favorite place to eat. This type of environment makes it easier for your child to open up and reconnect with you. Let him talk and tell you about the things on his mind instead of probing for information. He will open up and talk more freely when the conversations come naturally.
8. Have family time.
Having one on one time with your child is great but it’s equally important to bond as a family. Doing activities together such as going somewhere special, whether it’s the little pizza place in town or a family vacation, helps to bring everyone closer together.
Bonding with your middle schooler is not always easy. This is a difficult age because everything is
changing. It can be confusing and even a bit scary for you and your child. He is impressionable and
eager to learn more about the world he lives in. Be the one to teach him by using these tips and taking other steps to bond and strengthen your relationship with your middle schooler. As a result, he’ll turn to you for advice and guidance more often.