Parents.TV gives advice on how you can connect with your teenager by participating in their favorite sport or activity.
Communicating with Your Teenager Betty Wong: Getting teens to talk and open up about what they’re thinking, feeling and doing can be a challenge for many parents. But there a lot of ways you can bridge that communication gap. Hi I'm Betty Wong, Executive Editor of Family Circle Magazine and I'm going to show you ways that you can share activities with your teens to not only connect and bond, but also encourage a healthy and active lifestyle. Bryan: Hi my name is Bryan Dutton, this is Christy Dutton she’s 9-1/2 and she’s my surfing body. Julie: I'm Julie, this is my son Monte, he’s 14 and we figure skate together. Joyce: Hi my name is Joyce Kasueska with my son Eric, he’s 18 and the sport that we enjoyed doing together is road biking. Jay: I'm Jay and this is son Cory Mason and he’s 18. Amongst the activities we do, we do basketball but primarily golf which is what we’re out doing today. So how’s your day? Cory: Oh it was great, great day. Jay: It affords us kind of really four or five hours of peace and quiet. And we usually always carry our bags and we were sitting in a cart now where we usually carry our bag and we kind of get the exercise. It’s very rare that we would have a chance to talk for four or five hours, and have some nice competition at the same time. Cory: When we’re out in the golf course, we’re having fun so if I bring up something that I don’t really want to sit down and talk about one-on-one he's still got to be with me for another three hours so we can get—it’s a good way. Jay: I can't get mad at him. Cory: He can't get mad at me we’re in the golf course. I think playing with my dad is good for us. I mean it gives us some competition; we get to go out, we get to hangout with each other for as he said good four or five hours and he’s better than me so it keeps me getting better to going to beat and become better at golf. Great shot, great hole you win. Good shot. Betty Wong: The problem is that they hate anything that smacks of “hey let’s sit down and have a talk”. So there are ways to bridge that communication gap, you just have to be a little creative about it. Don’t let stereotypes get in the way. Mom and sons are just as likely they bond as dads and daughters you don’t have to stick with traditional roles. Dads don’t have to be always the coach of the basketball team; mom can be out there on the team too. And it’d be great if you guys find a new activity that you guys haven’t tried and take a lesson together. Julie: I think that it gives us a lot more opportunity to talk to each other. We have an activity in common to talk about and sometimes when there are stresses from other things, normal parents-teenager things, we have something with the skating that we can find to laugh about. Monte: The best part about being with my mom is that I get to annoy her all the time. It’s a lot of fun to do that. You're slow; you're usually faster than me. Julie: Someday you have to teach me a couple more of those footwork things. I found that I really do get more time to spend with him and really talk to him. And because we have something that we can have fun at together and even discuss the hard times together, it keeps the line of communication open in other areas as well. Betty Wong: I like to call them side talkers when you're side-by-side like when your in a car, your out for a walk together or you're doing some other activity like jogging or biking you're much more likely to get them open up and be more conversational because they don’t feel like they’re getting the third degree. Eric: It’s a lot easier to talk to her when I'm with her riding my bike but usually I have to slow down so I can talk to her. Julie: As example of time we spend together riding is we usually go riding and all of a sudden he’ll turn to me telling me that he was thinking about his major maybe engineering, what do I think and we were on the bikes. It’s a time for him to think about things that I'm closest person next to him to actually open it up to. So we’ve had conversations like that normally probably we wouldn’t have had if we were just sitting together. Eric: Me and my mother having the same hobby helps us to spend a lot more time together and it’ll definitely stay like that for the future. Bryan: We start out in my longboards she would sit on the front and I would stand up and she drive that and then progress to getting her own surfboard. Christy: I like to spend the time with my dad on the water because it’s just so fun hanging out with him and I really enjoy it. Betty Wong: And then that’s where also shared activities come into play because when you're both doing the same thing you're both kind of equal partners your teens feels much more comfortable opening up to you as a friend. This is an opportunity for you guys to get to know each other. You can talk about TV, your favorite shows, hobbies, foods, sports kind of keep things upbeat because this is the chance for you guys to really get to know each other as people. Bryan n: We’re talking about school events, just family stuff in general. It gives time to talk with ourselves nobody around. Surfing hopefully for Christy and I will keep us together a real tight bond through teenage years and feel comfortable with me out in the water and life in general. Christy: It’s good because we can hangout more and you can know each other much more and it’s much better to have with that. Betty Wong: As you can see participating in activities and sports with your teen has lots of excellent benefits from getting him to open up more to enjoying a closer bond between the two of you, plus you’ll both be enjoying a healthier and more active lifestyle. Female: Thank you for watching Parent’s TV, Our Families Our Lives.