Carve out moments daily to connect with teens

Q: I want to “connect” with our teenagers. But they have class, homework, jobs, friends and extracurricular activities. My husband and I both work and we’re usually coming and going as well. Everybody in our house passes like ships in the night. So how’s a parent supposed to connect with teens when life gets crazy?

Jim: With two teen boys in my home — and because I’m often on the road for work — I understand completely. It’s challenging, but you’ll never regret making the effort.

Start by making what little time you have together a positive experience. I encourage you to lavish love and affirmation on each of your teens. Go out of your way to tell them how proud you are. Even though I’m sure there are areas where they could improve, give them a pat on the back for the things they’re doing well.

Then find ways to carve time out of your busy schedules. (I deliberately scale back work travel in the summer to spend time with my wife and sons.) Your teens may act like they don’t “need” time with you, but I can assure you there’s no greater gift you can give. Maybe it’s an early morning before school over breakfast. Or perhaps a few minutes after school or just before their bedtime. Those one-on-one times with your son or daughter are priceless moments they’ll always cherish. Time as a family is important, but time alone with your teens can breathe new life into your relationship.

Although your household is bustling with activity, don’t let that discourage you. You’ll be surprised at the difference a few moments here and there with your teens can make in your relationship.

Jim Daly is president of Focus on the Family and host of the Focus on the Family radio program.