The preteen and teen years. . .the years they are struggling for independence. . .the years their hormones and their emotions are exaggerated. . .the years they spend a lot of time in their bedroom with the door closed. . .the years where most of their free time is spent with friends instead of family. . .the years where they spend half the day sleeping. . .
But what I often find myself talking with my preteen and teens about is school work, chores, where they are going, when they will be back. It is a little harder to be involved and connect on a deeper level so I have to get creative.
Here is one creative way I have found to connect with my preteen and teen daughter:
I enter their world. I enter their world of Facebook and Instagram. And I suggest. . .
A PHOTO SHOOT
What teen does not want cool pictures of herself to put on her Facebook page? I know, we hate getting our picture taken, but these teenagers, have you noticed how many pictures of themselves they take? So I enter their world and help them get even cooler pictures.
My girls and I brainstorm outfits and hairdos and accessories and "scenes". The preteens especially love the fashion talk. One afternoon, my girls and I went to Goodwills looking for Cinderella dresses. We were headed to the beach for the weekend and we had envisioned a "Trash the Dress" photo shoot. Look what we found for $6.49
The time planning the photo shoots is just as fun as the actual photo shoot. At times, I feel guilty driving all over town looking for inexpensive Cinderella dresses or some other prop when there are house projects to get done and errands to run, but the time in the car with my daughters - just us laughing and talking about fun stuff is pretty special.
And then the day of the actual photo shoot, that time driving around looking for the perfect backdrop is special too. Uninterupted time. Unrushed time.
We have done "farm" shots.
We have done "grunge/urban" shots. We were so excited when we found this colorful grafitti wall. It is always an adventure hunting out the perfect backdrops. You never know what you will find. Memories are made.
We always do a "High School Musical" jump and see if mom can actually capture it. These jumps always seem to relax the girls and you get a more natural smile from them afterwards.
Anna and I were excited that the jump and the shadow were captured in this photo:
Because friends are a top priority in a teen's life, I often invite my daughter's friends along for a photo shoot too.
I promise they do not think this is weird; they think it is cool. And you get a whole afternoon driving around in the car with your daughter and her friends. The girls laugh and giggle and tell stories.
They change their outfits 10 times right there in the car. You stop and get milkshakes. They ask you how they look and you get to affirm how beautiful they are. They ask, "Are you sure I do not look fat?" And you again get an opportuntiy to speak truth and encouragement to not only your daughter, but a handful of other girls. Every girl wants to be told they are pretty.
You get to be right there in the midst of your teen's friends. How often does mom get invited to join in on her teen's activities for the day? When you are the photographer, you do! Anna and her friends still laugh about the time I was sure we were going to get run over by a train when we were taking this picture. The whistle was blowing; the train was coming!
I am not a professional photographer. I did not even know how to shoot on manual until about a month ago. (And I am still scared to do so). All of these photos are shot on automatic. Some are even blurry. I still don't totally get lighting. Your preteen or teen does not care. I mean really, they are going on Facebook. You're just using the opportunity to connect with your daughter. Do not let the fact that you are not the best photographer or that you do not own a DSLR camera stop you.
|that quote came from here|
And your teen daughter can teach you how to edit pics in PicMonkey and how to add cool effects and borders and even how to add words to the photos. Ah, more sweet time with your preteen and teen. And then you can watch as she posts the pics on Facebook and a couple hours later, she tells you how many "likes" it got.
Totally worth it.
So have I convinced you to do a photo shoot?
I am always brainstoming creative ways to connect with my tweens and teens. Tell me, what have you done? What have been some of your best ideas?
I am sharing this post at some of my favorite linky parties: Raising Homemakers, Imparting Grace, At the Picket Fence, A Little Knick Knack, Tidy Mom, Serenity Now, Tatertots and Jello, Six Sisters' Stuff, Sew Many Ways, Titus 2 Tuesday, Titus 2sdays, Oh So She Says, Thankful Homemaker. and A 2 Z Home Stories