I've been reading Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages of Teenagers. Tonight I'm convicted about the chapter on Quality Time. I so want to do better in this area with my kids. I've typed the long quote below directly from the chapter.
Here are eight guidelines for better listening and true dialogue.Lots for me to think on....overall I don't think I'm doing terrible in these areas. However I know there is room for improvement! The computer is a biggie for me. I'll be working on something and my girl will come in and start to talk to me. I need to take time to listen to her--either by saying, "I want to hear what you are saying, give me 10 minutes to finish this up and I'm all yours." Or by turning right then and listening to her. We have good communication and I'm so thankful for that. I want to continue to foster that and let her know that I treasure our relationship.
Some parents find the idea of asking permission to share their perspective offensive. "Why should I have to ask my teen permission to speak?" The question is not whether the parents have the right to speak to the teenager, they do. The question is "Do you want your teenager to listen to what you are saying?" Asking permission recognizes that she is an individual and has the choice of hearing what is in your heart and mind or not hearing it.
- Maintain eye contact when your teenager is talking. This keeps your mind from wandering and communicates that the teen has your full attention.
- Don't listen to your teenager and do something else at the same time. Undivided attention.
- Listen for feelings. Ask yourself, "What emotions are my teenager experiencing?"
- Observe body language. Ask for clarification to make sure you know what she is really thinking and feeling.
- Refuse to interrupt. Interruptions often stop the conversation before it gets started.
- Ask reflective questions. "What I hear you saying is.... Is that correct?" "Are you saying...?"
- Express understanding. The teen needs to know that she has been heard and understood.
- Ask permission to share your perspective. "Would you like to hear my perspective on the idea?"
Learning how to be a better parent to my kids is what Works for Me this Wednesday. Head over to "We are that Family" for lots more Works for Me Wednesday posts.