If you want your teen to listen to you, it’s important to listen to them. According to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, kids were six times more likely to overcome challenges and complete their homework if they had a parent who listened to them.
Anyone can strengthen their attentive listening skills. Those same skills are likely to help you with other relationships too.
Use these strategies to increase your listening skills:
- Focus on interaction. Dialogue moves in two directions. Ensure that you listen at least as much as you speak.
- Let go of judgments. Show your teen that you love and accept them just as they are. You can validate their experiences even when you disagree with their choices.
- Drop your agenda. Encourage your teen to develop their own perspective and solve their own dilemmas. Resist the urge to do the work for them.
- Address underlying issues. There’s often more to a conversation than what appears on the surface. If you think your child is overreacting or developing unhealthy patterns, you may need to dig deeper or consider family counseling.
- Watch your body language. A great deal of communication is non-verbal. Use your facial expressions and gestures to show your teen that you’re interested and supportive. Make eye contact and keep your body relaxed and open.
- Discuss feelings. Even adults often struggle to identify and share their feelings. The more you work on your own emotional intelligence, the more you can be a role model for understanding and expressing feelings.
- Keep practicing. You may find that active listening seems unnatural or complicated at first. However, your abilities will grow over time, and your family life will be enriched just by making the effort.
Help your teen to develop healthy self-esteem and communication skills by listening to what they have to say. They’ll have a brighter future, and you’ll both enjoy a closer relationship.
If you and your teen are not seeing eye-to-eye on their future, I can help you bridge the communication gap. Schedule a no-cost strategy session with me here.