Family FitnessPeople often comment on the difficulty of relating to teens.  Parents find it increasingly difficult to make connections with their teenagers.  At many times, there seems to be an invisible barrier between two very different breeds of folks:  parents and teens.

I’m grateful to have discovered a key to keeping real, lasting connection with my teens.  The secret is fitness.  Physical activity can bring two people close together within minutes.  Skill is not required, only a sense of humor and a genuine effort. 

Simple Activities for Parents and Teens

One of the best ways to get to the heart of another person is to spark conversation while keeping the body active.  Ever notice how the best talks are had while on a walk with someone?  Utilize this tactic with your teens.  Everyday activities like walking down the road or washing the car, serve as a great breeding ground for building a relationship.

Electronic devices are excellent conversation killers. When people are wrapped up in their own little cyber world, it’s hard to make bonds with others.  It’s best to nix the computers and television when trying to make a connection, and instead focus on real life activities.  Trying out a new healthy recipe and devising outdoor games are two examples of simple family activities that work wonders with your teenager.

Sports for Parents and Teens

Many moms reading this may cringe at the thought of trying sports as a way to connect with their teens.  It’s not as daunting as it sounds.  Absolutely no skill or previous ability is needed.  You don’t even need to be organized.  When I first started integrating fitness into our family, I read  Fit for the Love of It.  This simple book helped me to secure a mindset that has led to many years of fit living, and has had a rippling effect on our family in many positive ways. 

If your teen is already into a sport, chances are she will be happy to show you some pointers.  If neither of you are experienced, learning something new together would be fun and it’ll likely lead to plenty of humorous blunders.

It’s helpful to have some basic equipment is available, such as balls, rackets, and rope.  However, traditional sports aren’t necessary.  Frisbee, kickboxing, and parkour are all excellent ideas.  Making up new games and rules is a lot of fun, as well.

Planned Events for Parents and Teens

Sometimes, a change of location is what’s needed to jumpstart a relationship with a teenager.  Hiking is a top notch family activity because it needs almost no preparation and cost almost nothing.  The surroundings and sense of adventure obtained while hiking is appealing to people of all ages, parents and teens alike.

Whatever fitness events you teen may like to attend is worth a try.  From snowboarding to paintballing, real bonds can be made that will last a lifetime.  Staying proactive and flexible are two surefire ways to maintain a healthy relationship with your teen.

Image Credit: Mik Bor

Sunny is an accomplished freelance writer, fitness coach, and website developer. She is currently working out of her Carolina home, homeschooling her four children. She can be reached on Body Mojo, one of her sites that she currently runs. Or follow her on