Sometimes, it’s difficult to comprehend that one day, your sweet little baby will grow into a fully independent adult. Yet here they are entering their teenage years, and with that comes a whirlwind of hormones, new interests and body changes. Things that were once interesting to them as a child may not be interesting to them anymore, so how can parents connect with them?

A few ways you can connect with your teen is by:

Go out for a meal. Generally speaking, you can’t go wrong with a delicious meal. Ask your teen where they’d like to eat and use the opportunity to catch up and chat about life.

Go for a drive. Get in the car together and go for a drive. Explore what’s around you; you never know what you might find! You could discover some awesome parks, lookouts or swimming spots; and you’ll get plenty of chance to catch up along the way.

Being involved in what interests them. You can do this by attending their sports games or dance performances, showing interest in their hobbies and simply being there for them. Encourage them to try out new hobbies and always be supportive.

Don’t brush it off. Adolescence is all about figuring yourself out. If your teen dresses in clothes you don’t quite understand, brings home a boyfriend or girlfriend you’re not particularly fond of or comes out to you regarding their sexual orientation, don’t be quick to disapprove or tell them they’re just going through a phase. This could discourage your teen from wanting to share pieces of their life with you in the future.

Adolescence is a confusing and sometimes difficult time for children, and while they may not act like it – they still need your support and affection. Later down the track, they will look back on these memories and appreciate you for it!