Here’s one thing that you probably weren’t anticipating to hear from me today. It’s time to be quiet.
An important part of communicating with your teen that is often overlooked is LISTENING. Many times when our teens bring us their problems, they don’t even want a solution! They simply want someone to empathize and recognize that they have life problems of their own.
Sure, their problem of Shea giving a dirty look during Chemistry may seem minimal to your day balancing work and life responsibilities, but it’s significant to recognize that these moments matter to your teen, and therefore – it makes them feel loved if they matter to you too.
Envision this: your teen comes home from a late afternoon practice and is venting away while you finish serving up dinner. You simply listen and show you care. No advice, no opinions, just listen. Your body language shows you care, you are responding empathetically, and your teen feels seen and heard for the first time all day.
Five days later, your teen is in a sticky situation and is unsure how to handle it. They come to you and ASK you for advice. Are pigs flying? Nope – it’s just your teen TRUSTING you because you simply listened to them and didn’t give unwanted advice.
Think of listening as an investment into our teen’s trust. The not-so-important venting sessions are deposits into the “trust bucket.” And when they trust us, they come to us during those life-changing circumstances.
I don’t know about you, but when my kids ASK me for advice, that gives me chills of excitement.