Why do some teens have a problem listening to parents? Why do they shut their parents out?
(For simplicity I'll be referring to young men. This article applies to young ladies just the same).
Let Your Teen Express Himself
If you're always hollering and making demands, he has already closed his ears to anything you have to say. Think about it. What if you're at work and one of your coworkers come up to you and start going off on you. How would you feel? Wouldn't you feel like defending yourself right off? What if you tried to speak, but she kept cutting you off? Would you hear anything she had to say after that?
You have feelings and views that aren't being heard. You want to understand the problem, but she's not hearing your side. The conversation gets no where. The more she doesn't listen to you, the more you get upset. All you want is to be heard. You want the opportunity to express your feelings and your viewpoints. You want her to understand your side of the story.
Try To UnderstandThe conversation ends without ever being resolved. She walks away feeling relieved. You walk away feeling misunderstood. You still have feelings and views pent up inside of you. If only she had taken the time to listen to you, then she would have understood you better. Even if she didn't understand you, just the fact that she listened to you would have showed that she cared enough, to hear what you had to say.
Now put your teenager in your shoes. Are you like the coworker? Do you let him express his feelings to you freely? Are you so upset at times that you cause him to shut down? You won't get much conversation from him at that level. Sure he'll listen. Maybe you're frightening him into listening. But what part is he really hearing? Probably none of it.
Pay Attention To How You SpeakWhen we talk to our teens, we want them to listen. We're defeating the purpose if all we do is holler, demand, and give orders. If your boss was like that, how long would you stick around? Our kids are no different. They have feelings too. We need to acknowledge their feelings and let them speak. When they do, we need to really listen to them. We should try to put ourselves in their shoes. We must try to understand the reasons behind their actions.
Most times we as parents only see the outcome. When we draw our kids out, we find out they have deeper problems. We can draw them out by asking the right questions and watching their behavior.
- Calm down
- Count to 20
- Let him speak
- Be apologetic
- Have empathy
- Let him know you still love him after wards
One final thought to teens. You're showing yourselves mature when you listen to your parents, even if they're upset and saying all the wrong things. Try to listen and speak when they're done. Getting upset and interfering will only make the problem worse.
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