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Ways to connect with your teen over the summer

Mary Fetzer is a freelance writer and marketing consultant with a marketing degree from Penn State University and 15 years of international business experience. Mary specializes in writing about parenting, children, pregnancy, college, h...

Reconnecting with your teen

Use the relaxed pace of summer vacation to reconnect with your teenage daughter. Look for ways to spend quality one-on-one time together and really get to know each other again.

Mom and teen talking over coffee

Summer is a much-needed break from the hustle-and-bustle of the hectic school year. When you think about it, you hardly see your kids at all – and when you do, everyone is in a hurry and stressed. Slow down, and get to know your daughter this summer.

1Volunteer together

Do you overindulge your daughter? Have you created a sense of entitlement in her? Do many of your disagreements involve money or spending? Believe it or not, this is one of the easiest areas of your relationship to fix.

Sign yourselves up for some volunteer work. Volunteering will forever change the way you and your daughter look at money. The opportunities are endless:

  • The Volunteer Match online network offers tens of thousands of volunteer opportunities every day. The network helps you find local positions that match your talents and can open your eyes to surprising opportunities you never knew existed.
  • America's Promise Alliance is a great way for your teen to help disadvantaged teens. America's Promise can connect you with a local organization that benefits young people in your area.

Volunteer vacations for teens >>

2Be dramatic together

There may be plenty of drama between you and your teen, but adding a bit more might actually be good for your relationship.

Audition together for a summer play with your community theatre group. Or make your own production. "My daughter and I are connecting this summer by working on a parody of Breaking Dawn," says Dr Natalie Wilson, professor of women's studies at Cal State.

You can let your guard down when you're pretending to be someone else, and that might just open up the doors of communication between you and your daughter.

Mom and daughter date night ideas for summer >>

3Talk to each other

Turn off your cell phone and disconnect your daughter's iPod. Take advantage of every opportunity you can to talk. We're not talking about heavy stuff here… just casual conversation in the car, over lunch, whenever. You may find that your daughter is not the moody, spoiled girl you thought she was, and she may learn a thing or two about her stick-in-the-mud mom.

Having trouble coming up with things to talk about? Try Moms & Daughters conversation starters from TableTopics, which provides light and lively questions meant to be shared just between the two of you:

  • When you brag about me, what do you say?
  • What about me reminds you of yourself?
  • If you could meet one woman – alive or dead – who would it be?
  • What do you remember about your first real date?

The topics are meant to spark laughs, memories, wisdom and hopefully a few surprises. Your daughter will discover that, believe it or not, you were once a teen, too.

More tips for moms of teens

Negotiating with teenagers: crazy or critical?
Real moms share: How I keep in touch with my busy teen
5 Reasons being your teen's BFF is a bad idea

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