All parents of teenagers are besieged with setting limits, negotiating guidelines, and generally looking out for the well-being of their children.  This is hard work.  Worse, if the above becomes the focus of your relationship with your teenager, you will not have the influence you desire.  Quite simply, the stronger your connection, the more influence you have with your teenager.  When you pay the same attention to your connection as you do to limits and guidelines, everything becomes easier and more effective.  But it takes work and creativity to foster this connection, most of it yours….

In short, connections matter, and the best way to teach this to your teenager is through your connection to each other during these tough adolescent years.  After all, one lesson you want your teenager to learn and carry forward into the rest of his or her life is that relationships and connections matter.  People on their deathbeds don’t wish they had worked more; instead, most people wish they had loved more.  This really means they wish they had learned to love and to stay connected when relationships became complicated and tough.  And adolescence is about as tough as it gets, so staying connected now is the best training you will ever have or need.

— Michael Riera, PhD, Staying Connected to Your Teenager, p. 260

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