My parents don’t listen. They just nag or try to fix me.

Resiliency: A tool to help overcome difficult times.

We have discussed the concept of resiliency as an ability to bounce back from difficult times/experiences. Last week we discussed the characteristic of being genuine. This week we will focus on Listening and giving minimal advice.

The main way to develop trust and relationship with teens is to actively listen. The main complaint I hear from teens about their parents is: “my parents don’t listen. They just nag or try to fix me”.

Active listening is as easy as asking good questions and responding with interest and without judgmental statements.

Questions of an active listener:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What do you do for fun?
  • Tell me about your friends/family.
  • How was your week?
  • What went well this week?
  • What didn’t go so well? How did that impact your week?
  • What is one thing you did to help you cope with that situation?
  • What’s one thing you could have done differently? (only ask this if you have established trust)
  • When was a time in your past you were able to overcome a difficult time? What did you do to help yourself? (This is a good one to ask after you have met at least four times and developed trust. Ask when they have shared a present difficult time)
  • How can people you trust help you during this difficult time?

Responses and follow-up questions of an active listener:

  • Wow that’s really great that this happened!
  • Sounds like that was really difficult/challenging.
  • So your friend was really rude to you in that situation?
  • You dealt with that situation really well. How did you feel like you did with that situation?
  • How did that situation go? How do you feel you handled the situation?

Asking good questions and listening fosters trust and encourages them to share more. Often when we give advice (especially too early) it tends to shut them down:

“One more adult nagging at me!”

Active listening communicates that he/she is a priority to you and what they say really matters.

– Mike Black, Ferndale School Counselor & Mentor Coach