The one thing we can agree on about the tween and teen years is that it’s all a bit unknown. Those typically chatty middle schoolers go from sharing everything about their day to responding with mono-syllabic answers when questioned about classes or friends. Or they just flat-out argue with you over everything.

Logically, we can understand that it’s all about our teens becoming independent people, but this change can put a serious strain on the parent-child relationship. While we used to connect with our kids by spending time with them, most teens spend the majority of their day in their rooms and prefer to hang out with friends over doing things with family members.

One thing you can do is connect with your tween/teen in non-verbal ways. Psychologist Lucie Hemmen shared some examples in a recent TikTok, and they really resonated with parents. Bonus: They don’t take much effort on your part.


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♬ original sound – Dr.LucieHemmen

Her list included small gestures parents can do to show their teenagers they care for them:

  • Clip a flower from your yard, put it in a vase, and place it in your teenager’s room to show your love.
  • Have a snack ready to go for when you pick up your exhausted teenager from sports practice or other activities.
  • Run a bubble bath for your child when they come home from volleyball practice.
  • Make your child’s bed for them while they’re in the shower to help them have a calm space before school.

Parents in the comments offered additional ideas, including preparing coffee for older teens who are heading off to work and making your child’s favorite dinner. Notice that none of these gestures cost a lot of money or are particularly time-consuming. “Small gestures can remind your teen that even though things can get tough between you, that you love them, you’re anticipating things that will make their day easier, and that you care,” Hemmen says.

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