We’ve been doing a little “listening campaign” in wellness to understand what adolescents most need from parents and the other adults in their lives. We didn’t expect the answers to be so similar and resounding. In a word, they want the thing we all want, active listening.
The features of active listening include: open curiosity; non-judgment; feedback to reflect understanding; questioning whether the speaker would like advice. We all know how it feels when the person we’re speaking with is waiting their turn to speak instead of really listening. We’re a bit less aware when we’re the ones listening without curiosity and when we’re directing the conversation toward our own agenda.
Try a little exercise with a friend of family member where you each take two minutes to answer a prompt (try “what’s in your heart?” or “what’s really been on your mind lately?”) No interruptions, no feedback. See how it feels and you’ll have a great sense for how you can immediately improve how you’re supporting your teen.
Allen Choi, Wellness Coordinator (ext. 7150)
Casey Sasner, Intake Specialist (ext. 7136)