Academic success often starts at home with a strong relationship between parent and teen. Studies have shown a strong correlation between parental involvement and high academic performance and graduation rates among teens. During this critical time of development, however, many parents have experienced communication becoming a challenge with their teen as the gap between their worlds widens and parental dependence lessens. Between the ongoing competition from mobile devices, video games, online content and more, finding out how your teen is doing and how he/she is progressing towards personal and academic goals can be a bit tricky. To help break the ice, below are a few tips to help connect with your teen:
- First, start small with “spotting your in.” Try to determine the best time to connect casually with your teen. Is it best to attempt to bond before school, after school, during dinner, on the weekends? Make sure it’s a time when your teen’s guard is down and it doesn’t feel forced.
- Create a comfortable environment. Don’t attempt to chat when you are preoccupied with other high priority tasks around the house. Play some music and dance to your favorite tune to release any tension in the house. Set the table with a couple of Coke Mini Cans for quick refreshment while you decompress. If you’re relaxed, then you give permission for your teen to be relaxed too.
- No judgment zone. When it’s time to connect with your teen, make sure you are prepared to listen to them without judgment. How is his or her week going? Has anything new sparked his or her interest lately? Have he or she set any new personal or academic goals? These little steps will help to open up the conversation to bigger topics
- Tell him or her stories of what you wanted to be when you were younger. Share what you did to achieve your goal. Opening up can open up your teen’s imagination to what is really out there for them.
- Let him or her know you’re here to help. Having a future goal is great, but figuring out the right road to take to get there can be daunting. Offer your help.Let him or her know you’re in this journey together. Remind him or her that you can both take it a little at a time, and small preparations now can lead to big results down the road.
Remember, it’s up to you to open up that dialogue with your teen that will help build trust and allow you to guide him or her on their path to success. To start him or her on the path, don’t forget to visit
to nominate your teen for a chance to win a mentorship experience at the Coca-Cola Pay It Forward Academy, plus a $5,000 scholarship. And join the conversation with other moms using #CokeMiniMoments.