What to do when a hug becomes uncool.

By michelle@TNC on Flickr

By michelle@TNC on Flickr

Although your tween may no longer be looking to you for hugs (at least in public), your continued relationship and communication with your teen is still very “cool” (and important)! One reason many teens find hugs to be “uncool” is because teens are busy seeking their own independence. Public hugs can make a teen feel like the child they were rather than the adult they wish to be. Respect your teen’s desire to be seen as an adult, even though you might feel neglected or disconnected as your child is less open and affectionate with you.

Instead, explore other ways to show your care for and interest in your child, such as making a batch of your child’s favorite cookies, driving your child and friends to practice or volunteering to assist with your teen’s sports or extracurricular events.

Be an eParent®! Text or email your teen’s coach, club leader, or teacher and ask if there is a way you can volunteer. Let your teen know you’ll be volunteering and ask how he or she defines “ok” public mom or dad behavior. (For example, your child might say, “No hugs or kisses!” or “No baby nicknames.”)

As your teen becomes busier with outside activities and friends, he probably talks less and isn’t as affectionate with you. By interacting with other adults in your teen’s life, you will be aware of positive or negative trends in your teen’s behavior or hidden pressures your teen may be under. Rest assured, however, that communication with your teen doesn’t only need to be “behind the scenes.” Teens still list parents as being very influential to their choices. By allowing your teen to set boundaries on your relationship while you continue to be active in your teen’s life, your teen will know you’ll be on the sidelines whenever he or she needs to talk.

You may find this article on Staying Connected to Your Teen to be useful.

To learn more contact UW-Extension Family Living Programs or like Family Living on Facebook.

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