Meet Them Where They’re At: The Secret to Building a Powerful Connection with Your Teen

by Nancy Reynolds

This Post: Meet Them Where They’re At: The Best Advice to Build a Powerful Connection with Your Teen

And then, one day, I woke up and my daughter had changed.

She wasn’t the sweet powder-smelling baby I snuggled with and fed in my arms late at night when the rest of the world was asleep. She wasn’t the clingy toddler who grasped my leg when the world felt too big. And, she wasn’t the bright-eyed, trusting elementary school girl who thought I hung the moon.

She was a teenager…

She was becoming her own person now, busy figuring out who she was and who she wanted to become. To me, it felt like she didn’t want my interference… she wanted to tread this new teenage territory without me guiding her every step of the way. 

Meet Them Where They’re At: The Secret to Building a Powerful Connection with Your Teen


Where I longed to keep holding her hand, keep her close, and fix every problem that life dropped in her path like I’d been doing since the day she was born, she was loosening her grip on my hand and pulling away a little more with each passing day.

Little did she know how much my heart ached for her. I missed her and she slept right down the hall from me.

As hard as I tried to stay close to her, I felt left in the cold with nearly every attempt I made.

“Hey, wanna grab a burger at that place you love?” Quite often I’d get a rather cold response. “Nah, thanks, Mom. I’m gonna hang with my friends.” 

“I have an idea!” I’d say. “Why don’t we carve out a couple of hours on Saturday and go shopping? I’ll even spring for a new top if you find something you like.” Inevitably, I’d get an answer like, “Maybe another time. I’m gonna hang out in my room, do a little homework and maybe go out with friends later.” 

She didn’t need or want me around as much. Her friends meant everything to her. She thought she knew more than I did about… well, everything.  And, my advice didn’t hold nearly as much credence as it once did.

Standing in front of me was an entirely different child.

She loved me, that much I knew… but life had shifted and with it, her view of the world and me.

It wasn’t until I poured my heart out to a friend of mine who has older teens that I realized all my energy was being placed on the past… what I missed, what I longed for, how I wished my daughter would be… not the here and now.

My friend told me, “I know it’s hard when they pull away. One day you wake up and suddenly you feel like your kid doesn’t want you around or need you. Heck, at times, you wonder if they even like you. That’s why you need to shift gears and meet them where THEY’RE at. Not where you wish they would be. And not where you want them to be.” 

EXACTLY where they are.

Her advice was invaluable to me… in fact, it changed the trajectory of my relationship with my daughter. I stopped agonizing over what I had lost and started focusing on the beauty of who my girl was becoming today. That’s when I made this vow to my daughter…

My daughter, I promise you this… I will always try.

To be there when you need me. To be the mom you need when you need it. To look into your eyes and heart, wrap my arms around you, and make sure you know every single day that you are cherished and loved. 

To let you become who you’re meant to be without my constant interference. To let you develop your own style and personality and loves and dreams without trying to sway you to my thinking. 

To simply be there. To love you. To meet you where you’re at. 

I might falter. I might mess up. I might let you down, at times. I may not always be patient, or have the energy, or have the grace, but I will try. I promise I will try.

When life gets to be too hard, when you don’t know where to turn, when you’ve messed up royally, when your heart is broken, when you need advice or guidance or perhaps no words at all, I’ll meet you right there. 

When you’ve had an exhausting day at school and need help studying for a test, I’ll meet you right there.

When you’ve had a fight with a friend and just need someone to listen, I’ll meet you there. 

When you’ve made the winning goal on the field, aced that hard test, landed the job, or found out the person you’re crushing on likes you back and you want to shout from the mountain tops, you bet I’ll meet you right there. 

When you feel like watching a movie, want to make a Starbucks run, or want to hop in the car and take a drive, you can count on me to jump at the chance to be with you and meet you there.

It doesn’t matter, my darling. Whether you win or lose, I’ll meet you right there. Whether you’re happy or heartbroken, I’ll be there. Whether you need me or not, I’ll always be right there… waiting to meet you where you’re at. 

I promise, my sweet girl, you can count on me to always try my best.

In the end, I started allowing my daughter to take the lead on what she wanted or needed at any given time. I stopped trying so hard to squeeze my way into her life and instead started jumping at every opportunity (even if it was just a few minutes) to hang out with or laugh or just “be” with my girl. 

I can’t tell you how much this shift in my mindset impacted our relationship. We became closer and our bond stronger. She came to me more and wanted to be with me more because it was on her terms, not mine. She opened her heart to me. She let me in…

Oh parents, I know it’s agonizing when your child pulls away and you feel they no longer need you or want you in their lives, but please don’t fall for it. They truly DO need you and want you. It just needs to be on their terms. Instead of missing and wishing and hoping things will revert back to the way they were (because they won’t), embrace the wonderful young adult emerging right before your very eyes.

Mostly, simply make a vow to yourself to try to be there when they need you, to be the parent they need, and to meet them exactly where they’re at. 

If you enjoyed reading, “Meet Them Where They’re At: The Secret to Building a Powerful Connection with Your Teen,” here are a few other posts you might like!

What Teenagers Really Need From Their Parents

6 Powerful Truths Every Parent of Teens NEEDS to Hear

10 Things Teenagers Love (Even If They Don’t Admit It)

Why Not Join Us?
I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join over 3.000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and learn how to optimize your blog for search engines, find free traffic, and monetize your website.
RAISING TEENS TODAY is a resource and safe zone for parents to share the joys, challenges, triumphs and frustrations of raising our oh, so imperfect (but totally awesome) teens. PLUS, sign up and you'll receive my FREE e-Book "Scoring Scholarships!"

You may also like

Leave a Comment