Yesterday the news struck. Another school shooting. I can’t handle it. I don’t know how to help my daughter when we hear about one. She is starting high school in the fall, and I don’t know if I can handle four more years of this fear. Help!
There are few events that strike fear in our hearts, our homes, and our communities like the senseless act of a school shooting. With images and snippets flashed on television and streamed over social media, it is natural to feel fearful about the safety of your child and their school. Beyond limiting exposure to media, it’s critical to know exactly what to do when tragedy strikes so you can support your teen and yourself.
[Continued from Part I. This is Part 2 in a 3-part series)
In part one of this series, we discussed that it is imperative for adults to do three things when speaking with teens:
(1) Know that listening is an investment.
(2) Be willing + open to listen
(3) Pay attention to what they are saying AND doing.
I want to pause on that last point.
You must LISTEN to what they are doing.
Say wha? You must listen to what they aren’t saying, and you do that by paying attention to what they are doing, aka tuning into the non-verbal cues. Often an invitation to connect with your child doesn’t come with words, it comes through their actions and behavior, their body language and their facial expressions. Let’s break this down.
Actions and Behaviors: It isn’t what your teen says that always makes the impression; it’s what he does. Withdrawing, slamming doors, rolling eyes are all specific ways to send you a...
Do you ever notice that your teen’s eyes glaze over while you’re talking to them? This is a surefire sign you are talking too much and listening too little.
Solid, healthy communication is essential in any relationship, right? When we talk and share our feelings, we feel closer to one another. However, talking is only part of the equation. The other portion - the much larger portion - is listening.
Sadly, this often gets reversed because it is easy to talk and way harder to listen. When communicating with teens, most parents and adults talk 50% more than what’s necessary. If you’re verbose, you may even say 70% or 80% more than necessary.
Yikes! And, when you are busy doing all that talking, it, again, can be tough, really tough to listen. Anyone can talk, but not everyone listens.
*You* need to be part of the group that listens.
Without the capacity for effective listening, communication becomes irrelevant. This is often what happens with your...
Today’s question is definitely one that hits close to home.
The question comes from Tracey, a mom of two: a 20-year-old daughter and a 14-year-old son. And she said:
“I feel like all my son does is sit around and do nothing after-school and on the weekends. I keep telling him that he needs to find an activity or a cause. If he doesn’t, I’m going to choose one for him. Is that okay, or should I just wait until he chooses his own interests?”
I’ve had many parents ask me this, and it’s a great question.
The short answer is yes and yes. Yes, you need to give him some space. And, yes, after you give him some space, you can give him some ideas.
For both parents and kids, there’s so much pressure. As parents, we want to create this perfect childhood experience for our little ones. And as kids, they want to please, especially us. It doesn’t matter if you’re 80, 45, or 14 — that pressure’s...