Custom CSS of Section contains Conditional Preview for See Life Campaign Elements

Tools for Listening to Your Teen

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
Father tries to console crying teen daughter
shironosov/iStock/Thinkstock
How to really hear your teen and encourage your teen to open up to you

When we asked a group of kids ages 13 through 17 about their concerns, they said they wanted to be able to communicate with their parents in healthy, positive ways.

Can you believe it? Your teen wants a connection with you as much as you want one with him! Our kids want to talk to us!

So where’s the breakdown?

Some kids just need an invitation. Others need more time to open up. Still others, though, are like the girl who said, “Every time I attempt to talk to my parents, they either yell at me before I tell my whole story or lecture me. If they’d be more open to talk with me and let me do some more talking, I’d talk with them a lot more.”

Wherever you and your teen are on that spectrum of speaking, things can get better. And they will, when you take advantage of some tools parents and youth workers and counselors have been using with the kids they care about. Let’s help you and your teen get to a deeper level by stocking your communication toolbox.

Listening Tools

Here are seven ways to make sure you really hear your teen — and to make sure he or she knows it.

1. Give him your full attention. I know you’re so busy that you hardly have a moment to yourself. But now isn’t the time for multitasking. Turn off the TV, the lawnmower, the blender — whatever’s competing for your ears.

2. Reflect her emotions; don’t mock them. Teens love to see their feelings reflected in your face. It tells them you understand how they felt when the coach yelled at them today. If their emotions seem over-the-top or the reasons for them seem trivial, remember that their world is smaller than yours — which makes each event look bigger.

3. Restate in your own words what you heard him say. Let’s say your son is dating a girl named Jen. One day he comes home and tells you about Jen flirting with his best friend. You might say, “So, what I’m hearing you say is that it really hurt when Jen looked at Brian with the look she usually gives you.” Restating helps ensure that you’re truly hearing your teen. If you restate the situation incorrectly, it gives your teen a chance to re-explain, too.

4. Display attentive body language. Skip the eye rolling, sighs, arms crossed tightly against the chest, and looking over your shoulder or into the distance. Sit cross-legged on the floor or sofa, or turn a chair around and sit with your arms resting on the back. Lean forward slightly, nodding as appropriate.

5. Decide to be interested in what she’s saying. This can be hard after a long day at work, coming home to a teen who wants to chatter about things that seem insignificant to you. Ask God to help you want to listen. The more you pay attention and ask clarifying questions, the more you’ll find yourself interested in her life. It may help to remind yourself that what you’re really interested in is her.

6. Listen to actions. How do you do that? You notice whether your teen is slamming doors or leaving incriminating notes from a boyfriend or girlfriend around the house. Is something wrong at school? In a relationship?

7. Be alert for moments of honesty and vulnerability. Teens will, on occasion, break down and spill what’s on their hearts. When they do, give them all the time they need to share. Then ask, “Do you want me to give suggestions or help? Or do you just want me to listen?”

Location Tools

Where you communicate with your teen is important. It can make the difference between conversation and consternation. Here are four things to keep in mind about the places in which you talk:

1. Pick a place that provides an “out.” Kids say it’s easier to talk with their parents if there’s something else to focus on when things get awkward. Examples of “safety valves”: traveling in the car, eating ice cream or a meal, playing a game, walking in the park, putting a puzzle together, painting a wall, going to a museum, riding bikes. Teens want to talk, but don’t want the pressure of having to do it without a break.

2. Avoid distractions. A safety valve (see #1) is a relief; a distraction grabs attention whether you want it to or not. Is that restaurant a good place to talk, or is the music always too loud? Have you turned off your pager? If you talk in the living room, will you hear little brother bouncing that tennis ball against the garage door? One teen found that even car conversations didn’t work in her family: “Sometimes [my parents] are too concentrated on driving or whatever they are doing and don’t pay attention to what I am saying.”

3. Choose a safe place. Kids want a place where they feel at ease sharing the scary parts of their hearts. Where is that for your teen? In his room? In yours? On a jogging path? If you don’t know, it’s okay to ask.

4. If you find a place that works, stick with it. Try taking your teen to breakfast or lunch once a week. Establish a habit like this and your kids may get comfortable enough to open up, even asking hard questions about life. Try not to bring your own list of hard questions, though; your teen may begin to shy away from those mealtimes if they turn into interrogations or preaching practice.

Dynamic CTA Template Below

Your Teen Needs You Most of All

No parent of teens is perfect and even the best can learn how to better connect with their son or daughter. Get practical action steps to better connect with your teenager in 8 Essential Tips for Parenting Your Teen in this FREE video series!

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
Emerson-Eggerich4-840w

Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Reconnected: The Digital Experience

Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.

Next Steps: Marriage Assessment

We want your marriage to be thriving and healthy. Take the free Marriage Assessment from Focus on the Family to learn how to strengthen your bond with your spouse and get the tools to help you need to grow closer together. 

Next Steps: Fruit of the Spirit Devotionals for Couples

The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional is a free series of nine short videos to get you into God’s Word and inspire you to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in loving your spouse.

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

Read More About:

You May Also Like

married couple hugging in the snow
Emotional Intimacy

Christmas Conversation Starters for Couples

One of the best things you can give your spouse during the holidays is time. Use these Christmas conversation starters to build intimacy with your spouse.

a couple checking their marriage health
Healthy Marriage

A Marriage Health Checkup Plan

To determine marriage health, couples need to monitor their relational fitness to catch problems they might miss. Here are some questions to help you.

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 5: It’s Going to be Amazing!

After a couple has chosen life, hear the heartwarming stories of children that culture would have cast aside, yet are making tremendous impacts in their communities. Whether the diagnosis was adverse or the circumstances were difficult, these stories will inspire you to come along side of families who have chosen life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

see life episode 4 normal version

Please check back soon for an updated version of this episode!

Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

Hear real life stories of parents who have made the decision to choose life even though the circumstances were overwhelming. You’ll see why “ALL” life is precious to God and why choosing life is always the right decision!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 6: Families Helping Families!

So, after all you’ve seen through the SeeLife ‘21 Episodic journey; what can you do now? We’ll share how you can partner with some amazing organizations that are making significant impacts in the pro-life movement! You want to Celebrate Life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

Have you ever wondered what a baby looked like in the womb? With today’s technology, Moms and Dads can see the baby’s heartbeat, facial expressions, and movements! You’ll find out why more women choose life once they hear their baby’s heartbeat and realize it’s a real living human!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 2: Heroes Providing Hope

Discover the amazing work our PRC’s Directors, Nurses, and Volunteers are making in their communities! You’ll see firsthand testimonies of a PRC in action, and that there are other options outside of abortions! You’ll also discover how your family can support your local PRC!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!