Connect with Your Teenaged Girls

Rhonda RobinsonBy Rhonda Robinson5 Minutes

It all started when I was invited to a tea party. This friend had the most elaborate collection of teapots. I had never seen such a collection. They were elegant and beautiful. She welcomed us with a spread of delights. It seemed as though the chocolate fairy had touched every morsel.

This handful of friends, all gathered together sipping our tea from gorgeous cups, seemed to somehow enrich our conversations. I left that day wanting the ability to have my own tea parties. The afternoon captivated me. It was as though we slipped out of the modern age of electronics and notifications, and stepped into the lost time and arts of meaningful conversation, we bathed in its beauty and grace.

Over the next few years, teacups and teapots became the staple gift I received for birthdays and Christmas. It quickly became the go-to gift my family knew they would always hit a home-run.

Soon, after a long day of chasing toddlers and homeschooling, a cup of calming tea in a favorite cup became my antidepressant of choice.

Fast forward into the tumultuous teen years.

If we haven’t yet met, let me explain. We had five girls in a row. That was fun when it came to dressing them up for church or taking them out into a crowd, all dressed alike with matching ribbons and bows. When teen years hit we also had five teens. Matching dresses gave way to raiding sister’s closet before heading out to date. Sports, beauty pageants, community theater added to the already chaotic chemistry of a large family.

Children with car keys in hand, and budding lives of their own, made our time together mostly just passing each other in and out of the doors.

One winter afternoon in the midst of a teenage girly crisis or two, I had this bright idea. I called a halt to all activities and invited my girls to a tea party.

It was late in the afternoon. The sun was beginning to wind down the day. Do you know the time? It’s the lull just before you have to start all the dinnertime chaos.

I boiled some water. Made tea in my prettiest pot. Grabbed a few cookies, and put on some instrumental music.

In spite of their initial objections, I forced them all to stop what they were doing and sit down with me.

You know what? Something magical happened.

They loved it. We relaxed for about thirty minutes. We talked to one another. Phones were left off, in another room. Music set the stage, and once again our conversation became enriched with the setting.

These busy young women asked if we could make afternoon tea part of our daily routine. That we did for a long time. It was part of our busy day. Nevertheless, the more hectic the day, the more important that time we set aside became.

That day, when I called my girls to tea, was purely selfish. It was because I wanted them to slow down and talk to me. I was racing their fleeting childhood, hoping to slow it down, for just a moment.

What I never expected, was they needed it as much as I did. In reality, I was just as busy. Every activity they had, was multiplied in my life. They came to love and cherish that time together as much as I did.

They needed to see me in a calm, relaxed atmosphere just enjoying their company.

Soon, the tables turned and they were pulling me in, and making me stop working to enjoy the beauty of simple conversation as we unraveled the complications of our lives around a warm cup of tea.

It’s easy to assume that our growing teens don’t want to spend time with us. That is simply not true. They long to have meaningful conversations. Children and adults alike, need to be heard—really heard. A daily ritual of creating a spot of calm and beauty, and stopping the world for just a few minutes just to listen and be fully present with our daughters, can make a lifetime connection that the clamor of the world seeks to rob from us.