Is Anybody Listening?
Do you remember when your teen girl was a little girl and came to you about everything? Do you find that since she’s become an adolescent she does not want to share as much with you? Do you feel like you’re not as close to her as you once were? Good news. There is something you can do to improve your communication and overall connection with your teen. Become an active listener.
Becoming an active listener requires time, effort and practice. Do you pause and look for moments to actively listen to your teen girl’s thoughts, opinions and dreams? One of her greatest desires is to be heard and validated. It is possible to become more aware of those opportunities. It is also possible to become one of your teen girl’s most cherished places to share about her day and most importantly all that she’s carrying in her heart.
Here are a few practical ways you can improve your active listening and make more out of your one-on-one time with your teen girl:
- DROP EVERYTHING: Stop what you’re doing and sit down with your teen. Look at her face to face while she’s talking. This is not a good time to multitask as she needs your full, undivided attention. She knows how busy you are and will feel special that you are taking a pause in your hectic day just to listen to her. Whether you realize it or not, she watches the way you give attention to your adult friends. Treating her to that same kind of experience will also make her feel like she’s not “just a kid”. She will feel valued, loved and important.
- SHOW GENUINE INTEREST: Let her know you’re interested. Be attentive in a way she can see you are waiting in anticipation to hear what she’s about to tell you. Something as simple as a nod or facial expression can really communicate to her that you’re fully present and “in the moment”. If she’s excited, respond with excitement. If she’s worried or down, let her see your compassion.
- LET HER SPEAK WITHOUT INTERRUPTION: Avoid interrupting your teen girl while she’s talking. She needs to know that this time you’re spending with her is all about her. This might be a struggle, but if you can hold back and just listen, she will want to come back to you for more conversation in the future. She will begin to associate sharing with you as a safe, comfortable place. Because you are listening to hear her first and foremost, she could be more open to listening in return the next time you have guidance to offer as a parent or guardian.
- ASK POWERFUL QUESTIONS: Long before I became a Teen Life Coach for Girls, I always mentored tween and teen girls. I remember many conversations where I just could not wait to tell them the answer. The most powerful lesson I learned from the amazing teens I have had the privilege to journey with is that they want to come to that answer themselves. Our teen girls are brilliant. Most of the time they already know the answer you are dying to give them, but just need your affirmation and reassurance as they discover it within your conversation. Start asking powerful questions. You may be pleasantly surprised at the wisdom within your teen girl’s heart.
This could be the beginning of a much deeper relationship with your teen. Please feel free to comment and give any feedback about things that have worked for you. Happy listening!