We all heard that raising tweens and teens are hard, but now, here we are ourselves with a few on our hands, and doing our best to navigate the challenges of parenting them. Whether you’re in the throes of it yourself, are approaching it rapidly, or just want to get a head start, we’re hoping you’ll appreciate this week’s Spawned with Kristen and Liz, in which we tackle this tough topic — with as much of a sense of humor as we can.

And uh, quite a few words you may or may not feel comfortable using around the kids.

Listen now, maybe after the kids are in bed or off to school for a fun, at times hilarious, but very honest talk about it. We’re sharing some of our own favorite anecdotes,  plus offering up 5 ways to help you connect with your tweens and teens from parents who’ve survived it and have give us seriously great advice.

And make sure you’re subscribed to Spawned on iTunes (go, do it now!) so you never miss an episode. Or listen here via Soundcloud, or your favorite podcasting app.

Still looking for more ways to connect with your older kids? We’ve got 10 more ideas right here:

1. Ask for Help
Look for moments when your tweens or teens can help you out, whether it’s reading a maps app, ordering in a restaurant, or picking a new shade of lipstick.

2. Get in the Kitchen
Have them cook or bake with you. Let them find the recipe and write the list, then go to the store together to get all the ingredients. Of course, be sure to rave about it no matter how it turns out. (Unless you can laugh about a fallen soufflé together, which is great too.)

3. Go for a Run
Get out and exercise together – a run, a bike ride, whatever it takes to get you both moving and together.

4. Car Time is Bonding Time
Time spent driving together can be the best time to connect, free of a lot of distractions of home. So bring your tween or teen along with you to run errands, even if they might not want to. (They probably won’t; fair warning.)

5. Listen. Then Listen Some More.
Connecting can be as simple as giving your older your full attention — no phone, no computer, no television — and hearing what they’re really talking to you about. Even if you have no idea what they are talking about.

6. Text them. Really.
Sometimes kids will say lots more to you via text than they ever will feel comfortable saying out loud. Then again, adults can be like that too.

7. Ask Questions. Not Even the Hard Stuff.
Kids love sharing information, if not being interrogated. So try just asking them questions to get the details you need for their day — like what the weather report says, or what time the kids need to be where. It’s empowering.

8. Create a Ritual Together.
Tea in the afternoon? A chat before bedtime? A favorite part of the day during dinner? Kids may fight it at first, but they’re likely to come to appreciate it and look forward to it.

9. Plan Date Nights Alone with Them.
And take their lead for the activity, while you’re at it. You’ll get so much more out of your time together if you go with their own flow — especially considering kids tend to have to work around yours.

10. Let Them Control the Music in the Car.
It’s okay, you can do it.

Our Cool Picks of the Week

Skinny cocktail recipes for summer | Cool Mom Eats

Skinny Hurricane Cocktail at With Salt & Wit | Old Fashioned at Gimme Some Oven

Liz – Visit Cool Mom Eats for lots of awesome recipes for skinny cocktails, just in time for summer. Also helpful if you’re parenting tweens and teens. Heh.

Kristen – A truly fantastic resource for parents of tweens and teens: How to talk so teens will listen, and how to listen so teens will talk, available through our affiliate Amazon.


Want more tips, tricks, advice, and ideas to connect with your tween or teen? Listen to episode 42 of Spawned with Kristen and Liz where we do just that. And guess what, parents of younger kids? This puberty thing starts early, so there’s something for you here too — like the anatomical words we admit are pretty funny, and Liz’s embarrassing third-grade tampon story. That you have to hear.

Subscribe to Spawned with Kristen and Liz on iTunes. And if you’ve got a comment, show idea, or want to be a guest? Email us: spawned@mompicksprod.wpengine.com  or tweet us @coolmompicks using #spawnedshow 

Top Image: Breakfast Club, of course.