The teen boy and me

Many people ask me about the bond I share with my son and how I’ve been able to have such a close relationship with him, even throughout these teen years. Well, the answer isn’t so cut and dry. It hasn’t been all rainbows and unicorns for my son and myself. A move across the country far from family and divorce came with its set of challenges that forced me to be very aware of every parenting step I took.

Because of these huge life-changing events, I did everything in my power to just be present and simply show up for my son. That is it. Because really, that’s all kids want. In all my imperfect glory and with all the changes in life I did not plan, I was always down for a game of Uno, a trip to the pizza shop or a head scratch before bed. My gestures of love have been all been from the heart with no expectations other than I want him to know he is loved. The simplicity in my approach to parenting is why I believe he and I share a special bond.
If you’re looking for ways to bond with your teen son, my advice is to keep it simple. Don’t push the agenda to talk (trust me, I’ve tried that and failed). Find common ground and let things happen on their own.

7 things to do with your teen son

Netflix and chill

My son and I have extremely different tastes when it comes to entertainment, and it’s not just because of the age difference. He loves sports and I love documentaries. So, how do we compromise? We watch sport documentaries together. Many of stories featured have important life lessons behind them so they’re actually really great conversation starters. 

We also compromise on movies. He loves superheroes and things being blown up. I’m more of an indie or art flick kind of gal. We have a deal. If I have to sit through two hours of a guy with a cape flying around, he owes me his time on the next art film I want to see.

Teens are usually out with their friends on the weekend, so make it a weekday taco night with a movie or series at home.

Play Sports

I’m not good at sports, but if you ask my son I’m great at throwing a football and taking three-point shots. Fine by me if that’s what he wants to think. I’ll take it! Get out there and throw a ball with your son, even if you suck. Those are actually the funniest moments, and there’s nothing like laughing together.

Catch a movie

My son is on top of his movie game. He sees them with his friends before the rest of the world has a chance to. He knows I get antsy at the theater if the movie has too much stimulation (explosions, etc), so he lets me know if he thinks I’ll enjoy it and we go together. It’s usually his second (or third) round but that’s OK. Make time to have mom and son movie nights with your teen.

Related: The serious and funny ventures of parenting teens

Play games

We’ve been playing board games since he was little, so my son is totally down to play Trivial Pursuit or Monopoly at a moment’s notice. Family game nights are always a blast, especially when his friends join us. But do you want to take game night up a notch? Try playing video games with your son. Mortal Kombat and Tetris are a just few games he and I love to play together. If you think the new games are too complicated, try it. My mom learned how to play Star Wars with him. If she can do it, you can too!


My son and I have participated as volunteers for a variety of things but the most memorable one has to be an “I am Immigrant” event in LA, where he helped set up. There are tons of things to do to serve your community. Yes, your teen may not be thrilled about it at first. It’s not as exciting as tickets to a game, but working together on a project outside of what you do at home encourages different conversations and fun (or even profound) memories.

Go for a drive

My son doesn’t like it when I ask questions. I tell him it’s just my way of initiating a conversation. Most of time, it ends with a one sentence answer, and that’s it. However, I learned that taking a drive is the best way for conversations to come up organically. Put on some music and take the scenic route to grab ice-cream.  


I haven’t been able to take that trip to Europe with my son yet. My priorities over the last few years did not allow for long vacations. However, we’ve made trips to the east coast to see family, and those have been so much fun. We’ve seen the Rockettes in NYC and ate cheese steaks in Philly. Those experiences have given us a lifetime of stories to share (especially that time I drank too much wine to calm my nerves on a flight, ahem). Plan a trip, even a small one.

Make it a date night

From art shows to Broadway, my son grew up in the art world but it’s really not his thing (for now, anyway). But he knows I love it, and will get dressed up to go out on a date night with his mom (as long as I take him to dinner at a place that has burgers). Our last date night was an evening out to see the King and I at Pantages. If you don’t live near a large performance venue, look out for local music shows or festivals. Or make it a bowling night. As long you both get out of the routine of the everyday homework, chores and “what’s for dinner?” grind, you’ve won. Give yourselves a reason to get dressed up and paint the town red.

Related: Ready for High School 

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *