50 Ways to Give Your Teen Positive Attention

Give your teen regular doses of positive attention.
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Sometimes, it's easy to get so caught up with work, sports, school, and other outside activities, that there's little time to spend together as a family. It doesn't help that most teens want to spend their spare time with friends, or with their noses buried in their electronics.

But teens who don't get enough positive attention from adults are at risk of acting out. Rather than ask for attention, they'll do something to grab your attention.

Giving your teen regular doses of positive attention can reduce rebellion and other behavior problems. Here are 50 ways you can give your teen positive attention: 

1. Talk to your teen about his day.

2. Volunteer together.

3. Make dinner together.

4. Solve a problem together.

5. Root for your teen. Whether it’s a sports game or a big test, let your teen know you are on his side.

6. Talk about the future.

7. Read the same book and talk about it.

8. Plan a weekend trip.

9. Go for a walk.

10. Write your teen a positive note - it will perk up his self-esteem.

11. Develop a new healthy habit together.

12. Rearrange your teen’s room. 

13. Challenge your teen to a board game marathon.

14. Plan the family vacation together.

15. Make your teen his favorite lunch.

16. Make your teen a hot breakfast before school.

17. Plan a hiking adventure.

18. Take a class together.

19. Hug him.

20. Buy a sponsorship in the yearbook and write something sweet.

21. Build or add to a family website together.

22. Plan a birthday party.

23. Watch a movie.

24. Do a puzzle and frame it.

25. Plant a garden in the backyard or a potted indoor garden.

26. Stay in your pajamas all day. 

27. Play catch.

28. Have a picnic.

29. Go to a local historic museum.

30. Make your own t-shirts or sweatshirts.

31. Scrapbook or journal a day in your teen’s life.

32. Stargaze together.

33. Find shapes in the clouds together.

34. Go to the zoo.

35. Serve a meal at a soup kitchen.

36. Make a time capsule.

37. Go bowling.

38. Go to a professional sports event or concert.

39. Make a video.

40. Make a pillow or quilt out of your old T-shirts and blankets.

41. Have a campfire and roast marshmallows.

42. Have a garage sale.

43. Write a letter to a grandparent about something wonderful your teen did.

44. Bake cookies.

45. Start a small business together.

46. Talk to your teen about college.

47. Talk to your teen about serving his country.

48. Order out at your teen’s favorite fast food joint.

49. Spend a day at the beach or a lake.

50. Read one of your teenager’s current magazines.

Updated by Amy Morin, LCSW.

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