How to Stay Close With a Teen Pulling Away

The evolution of children is really amazing. It’s like a bell curve. They start out very close to you, they drift away, and then they come back. We’ve had 11 children, so I’ve experienced it a lot. When they’re really young, they think everything you do is right. They want to be around you all the time and to go where you go. Then you get to age 11 and into the teens, and they start to drift away. All of a sudden, you’re no longer cool, and you feel your teen pulling away. They want to spend all their time with friends. But then college age, they come back, and you get a little closer.

But what can we do during the time when they drift, in order to stay close? Here are a couple of ways I’ve learned how to handle a teen pulling away.

Expect it to happen.

This is a natural part of childhood. Be prepared for your kids to push boundaries and separate from you. It will happen at some point. Being prepared for this season will help you respond better.

It’s not permanent.

Sometimes, when the relationship changes, we think it’s going to be like that forever. That’s not true. More than likely, this won’t last. As I said, I’ve seen over and over kids drift away and come back later. Be patient with your kids, and don’t lose hope.

Be available.

Do the things they like to do. That’s one of the things I learned. When my kids pull away in their tween and teen years, we need to be super intentional to find the things to do with them that they enjoy. We used to go to the park. Then they were into going to the mall or the movies. Maybe it’s not something you enjoy, but you have to do it to find common ground and maintain that closeness.

Sound off: How do you stay close with your teen pulling away?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is your favorite thing to do right now?”