Parenting Modern Teens (& Kids!)

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5 Ways To Become Closer With Your Kids


It's healthy to want to be close with our kids.

We decided to have children because we want to intimately share life with them.

To mentor them. 

To love them through the good times…and the bad.

To enjoy family experiences and memories with them.

Any person who teaches that parents can’t be close or connected with a teen…is a big dummy.  

Being close is such a great feeling...It's human.

But it can be so hard. 


And harder when they become teens. Yes, the teen brain is focused on becoming an individual and developing his/her close peer group, but they still need their parents.

While it can be common for a child/teen to shut a parent out of their life, it doesn’t make it normal, healthy, good or human.

Kids need parents...and t be close wth them.

 If your kid doesn’t talk or open up with you, here are some action tips!


  1. Change Your Parenting Approach

"Kid's will be kids, they don't care about parents."

"I didn't want to be close to my parent at that age."

"My son has SDHD, he can't be close."

"My daughter is so selfish, she doesn't care."

If your first instinct is to blame your child/teenager for the distance between you…you are grossly misguided. 

First, look at yourself. There is very likely something in your parenting approach that is not effective with this unique child. This doesn’t mean you are doing a bad job parenting. This doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong. What this means is that your parenting approach may not be the most effective for your unique child/teen.

To help you look in the mirror, consider reading my article, 5 Reasons Why Your Teenager Doesn’t Talk To You.

I also have podcasts in this topic.


  1. Use the Word “Boundary” Often When Speaking With Them

 "Boundary" is a powerful word. We should all use it more.

 Sounds like: 

I’d love to catch up and talk with you. But if you’d rather not I will honor your boundary.

"I want us to be close, I can respect your boundaries." 

Can we talk about your grades right now? But if you’d rather do it another time I will respect your boundary.

 “I’m really curious about how you are feeling about this. Yet, I'd want you to feel respected and that I am honoring your boundaries. Can we talk about it?"


Tweens and Teens love boundaries.

The problem is, many kids don’t have the communication skills (or the maturity) to set boundaries in a kind and respectful way. Therefore, they end up setting boundaries in childish, hurtful and immature manner. "Leave me alone. Get out!"


When a parent starts using the word “boundary” it… 

  1. Helps them understand they, in fact, have boundaries. Lots of them.
  2. Models for the teen a kind way to communicate and set a boundary
  3. Teaches the teen the parent wants to honor their boundary..and won't violate it

Why are boundaries so important when raising tweens and teens?

When a child feels like their parent honors their boundaries, the child is more likely to open up. They feel safe and respected. In control. 

It's kinda like:

They talk...because a parent really wants them to talk, but they don't have to talk.


  1. Ask Them, "Do You Like How I Am Parenting you?"....and Listen To Their Feedback and Advice

 Sounds Like: 

“Son/Daughter, I want us to be close. Can you give me some advice? What can I do or change in my parenting approach which would help us to be closer? Do you like the way I am parenting you?”

 As I often say/teach, parenting a teenager should feel like you are in a Win/Win relationship.  But if you want to establish this, you must be willing to listen to your teenager and be open to what they have to say. This is also a form of "authoritative parenting".


  1. Make a Good "Deal" With Them

This is a really good tip.

It’s difficult for some kids to open up and be close with their parent. 

Many teenagers have a hard time opening up and sharing. Being vulnerable. Making the time.

It's hard for them emotionally. It can feel intimate. Scary. Vulnerable. 

Sharing is a form of selflessness, and some teens struggle with selfishness.

Yet, there are always creative ways for parents to help their teen to open up and talk with them…and “making a good deal” with them is one.

Sounds like:

Teen - “Mom, can you take me to the mall, I need some new shoes?”

Parent – “I’d love to. Can we make a deal? How about I’ll take you to the mall, we get those shoes....and in exchange, we also go to Starbucks and we chat about your life. Chat about your friends, your stresses, and your classes, your hobbies?  ...All while we shop for the shoes. Do we have a deal? Do we have a Win/Win?”


Here is another example of a good deal…


Teen – “Dad, can you buy me a prom dress?

Dad – “I would love to! Can we make a deal? How about I give you the money for the dress and tonight you and I go out for a burrito together and you tell me about your dress, the date you are going with and we catch up? Deal?”


  1. Start Having “Heart Talks” With Your Teens

I teach about the positive power of “Heart Talks” very, very often...for good reason.

Closeness with a teen begins and ends with Heart Talks. 

Obedience from your teen has a lot to do with your ability to have Heart Talks.

A “Hearts Talk” occurs when a parent and teen really talk and connect…heart to heart. 

 We have found that many modern parents speak from their heads, and not their hearts, and they struggle with Heart Talks: having them, teaching them to their kids, creating Win/Wins out of them.

Some modern parents were not close with their parents growing up, so being close with their child feels weird or foreign to them.

The number way to get your teen to open up to you...start having Heart Talks with them. 


 Use these tips and tell me how your kid responds!

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Stay Strong. Be Close. Teach Wisdom.

Sean Donohue

Family Coach, Founder

Click HERE to go deeper with Sean.

Click HERE to read "3 Mistakes Parents Make With Screen Addiction!" 

Click HERE for Sean's article, "Why Teens Need EQ Skills".

Click HERE to read Sean's article, "How To Evaluate Your Teen's Emotional Maturity".