Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Are They Even Listening?

We talk and we talk, and we talk some more. But do they listen?

You are probably wondering who I am taking about. Well, they are in the news again, the "monsters". Yes, this is another post about teenagers.

I simply would like to share another of my observations with all of the parents out there. As a mom of a teenage boy, I know that at times it is frustrating not knowing if your child is just like another teenager or completely different.

Today's subject is "Listening Skills". Do they exist in teenager's brain?

So, let's see. You are a responsible and caring parent who wants the best for your child. And so, you would love to help your child to make better choices in life. And of course in your mind the best approach is communicating with your child. And what is the best way of communication? Conversation of course.

You as an adult mastered this trade. So, you put on your professor's hat and start the conversation. You start with careful approach and step by step come to climax of the story, while all of a sudden you hear something like this: "Mom, are you talking to me?"

WHAT? What do you mean if I am talking to you? Who do you think I've been talking to for the last ten minutes? Have you heard a thing I said?

Or here is another one. You are absolutely sure that your words are heard loud and clear. You are emphasizing every important letter and phrase. You are inspiring! Oh so you think. Your object's of affection ears are occupied by earphones from IPod. " Are you even listening?"

Guess what, they are listening. Look, it might not be "cool" to show you that they are listening, it might not be the "good time" for them ("I am chatting with David about the new Dirt III:) , the "right words" ("Mom I dont' even know what it means") or even the "same language" ("OMG! LOL! Rents r in."). There is no need to go on. If you have one of these "monsters" in your house you know exactly what I am talking about.

The point is, they are listening. They hear every word you say to them. And one day they surprise you with what they actually heard and how they actually applied what they've learned from your one-sided conversations.

Now, approach this matter with caution. You would not want to scare away this extraordinary creature with your knowledge. So, here are few tips for you to follow:

1. Talk to your teenagers. You are the best source of useful information for them (although they do not think so at the time).
2. Do not be afraid to tell them about the mistakes you made ("When I was your age..."). This will bring you down from the pedestal they think you are on.
3. Do not try to be "cool". ("Really Mom? Really?")
4. Do not try to use their lingo. You might use it incorrectly. (LOL means "laugh out loud", not "lots of love").
5. Do not try to bring up important subjects at the dinner table (you might loose your appetite).
6. Do not bring up important subjects before school or before bedtime (I don't think this needs explanation).
7. The best time to talk to them is when you're one-on-one. (In the car to a hockey tournament, in the car to the shopping mall, in the car to visit a friend, etc. They have nowhere to run and all they can do is listen).
8. The last and most important tip. Talk to them, they are listening!

Hope you can use few of my tips. What I'd like to know now, is how do you approach your conversations with teenagers and how do you "make" them listen? Do you have any tips to share? What are your tricks?

Please let me know. There are many parents that will be very grateful for your input.

Have a fantastic day and remember,

Be Active! Be Involved! Be a Current Woman!

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