I remember it well. It stunk.
It was like my teens were on a raft whose rope had gotten untied. They were drifting away and I was back on the dock. It wasn’t easy to talk anymore, and they were distracted by the new waters.
Time was passing and so were our chances to enjoy an open, fun, and adventurous family life.
I wanted none of it, so I figured something out. It worked.
What I figured out switched up the vibe. We gradually connected again and the normal blow-ups weren’t deal breakers, they were something to talk through, willingly, together. Slammed doors and dead-end conversations were the exception, not the rule.
People wonder how our family of four backpacked around the world living in bunk rooms, bungalows, homestays and hostels without wanting to trade each other in for a Diet Coke. For nine months, we lived in small, tight spaces that required us to manage our stuff and our emotions without running to our separate corners…because there weren’t any.
So how did we do it? How did two adults, a teen and a preteen, not only survive but come home better friends and a stronger family?
Was it perfect? No! (Perfection is a sure-to-fail goal. Instead, I seek perfectly wonderful moments and conversations that build a strong bond.) There were times when we were frustrated, claustrophobic, and irritated. It is what we did in those moments that had the power to make or break our trip.
What we did in those moments was a result of that thing I figured out long before we left on the trip. I realized I couldn’t make my kids want to talk to me but I could do something about the way I was showing up. So I did.
This led to other shifts that rocked our world for the better. We talk with each other and not at each other, we listen and talk, and we use a very simple trick that changes everything, nearly instantly.
My experience put me on a mission to defy the myth that life with teens can’t be fabulous. I want to disrupt the beliefs we have around having great conversations with our teens.
I begin with my book, The Parent-Teen Playbook to Live Brave, Give Big, and Have Fun, which just launched as part of The W3 Factor, that very simple trick I mentioned earlier that our family uses every day.
Let’s re-write the story of life with teens and together create families built on adventure, connection, and curiosity. Visit The W3 Factor and learn more about just how to do that.