Navigating Through The Teen Years!
1. Listen well.
2. Ask good.
3. Pause often.
4. Start all over.
My daughter arrived home from school, plopped herself down on her usual spot and took on that usual look of “I need to talk to you.” Without saying any words the look in my eyes told her I was ready to listen, to give her my full attention. She opened her mouth and began to share about her day, her time on campus, in the class room and among her peers. She finished sharing as quickly as she began and in her silence I knew she was waiting for me to ask good. This is what I call being intentional with all I say, especially when it come to my questions.
I spoke up and my ask good was this, “do you need me to just listen or would you like my input?” and then I just paused and started to listen well all over again. In my pause she looked at me with a twinkle in her eyes and a smile on her face, her way of saying thank you for actively listening to me through her expression.
She continued to share and wanted my thoughts, we were engaged in an open dialogue that added to our relationship. I have learned that my pauses do not mean I agree with what she is saying but they do mean that I value her voice and the trust she has to share with me whatever it might be. The conversation ended well with her thinking about some choices she will have to make in the near future. I walked away from the conversation impressed at the way she has learned to communicate well.
The break down in relationships, any kind but especially that of teens and parents comes when there is lack of communication or miscommunication. If our children are in the learning years, then it is our job to teach them well, they were not born to communicate it comes with training, teaching and many hours of listening on the side of the parent.
If there is anything I am learning as I navigate through these years is that my parenting has become 95% listening and 5% speaking. I have learned that the most important part of the conversation has been the pause I intentionally take, it is there where I earn the trust of my children to speak into the situation.
If you are preparing to parent a teen or are in the middle of these wonderful years, please be encouraged to Listen well, Ask good, Pause often and Start over again. This will allow you to become actively involved in a positive way in your teens life while connecting with them through open conversation. It is amazing what our children are willing to tell us when we are willing to listen.