Getting on with my teen.
You asked us:
All I hear from my teen is that I don’t listen and I don’t understand. I think I do, what do I need to do differently?
Here’s what Amity has to say:
Firstly accept that you may not agree with them but it’s how they feel so you need to respect and acknowledge that. Then you need to reflect on why they feel like that, see things from their perspective.
What might make it worse:
Protesting and saying ‘I do listen!’
Trying to convince them that you had the same experiences when you were young so they should listen to all your advice as you know exactly what they are going through
Seeing your role as their leader all the time rather than also their nurturer
What might make it better:
Asking them what they need you to do differently to make them feel like you are properly listening to their thoughts and feelings
When they are struggling with a challenging time, ask them what they need from you, do they want advice or do they just want to feel secure via your actions…making their favourite tea, giving them a big hug etc.
Show your teen that you are eager to understand their experience, you are not dismissing their feelings with comments like ‘don’t be silly, it will be fine.’ Ask useful questions like…’of all the things that feel like issues at the moment, which one are you worrying about most? What would you like to change about that issue, how can I be part of that change?’