Mom of Teens: Are they really listening?
Posted August 4, 2010 2:05 p.m. EDT
Updated August 4, 2010 2:08 p.m. EDT
Many moms will offer advice at some point in their teen's life. Sometimes it is requested. Other times it's just offered. Those “just offered” times can leave a mom wondering if she's getting through to her child. This is particularly true when words of wisdom are met with sighs, eye rolls or my favorite, the vacant stare. It makes you want to ask if they understand what you are saying!
I've asked that along with, “Do you ever listen to me?” Well, a couple of weeks ago I got my answer. I was in the kitchen with my youngest daughter having a conversation about how she chooses to deal with situations. At one point I said, “Do you ever take any of my advice? I really don't think you ever listen and then actually use what I tell you.”
As usual, my little firecracker had a surprise for me. Her response was, “Actually mom, I do. When I get into a situation that we've talked about, I think about what you said and I use that information to decide how to handle things. I don't always do it, but sometimes I do.” Well then.
So to all the advice giving moms of teens, here's some advice for you.
Talk to them. Even if your teenager acts like they don't want to talk to you, talk to them anyway. Communication is key to relationships. Don't just talk about what is going on, but also about possible situations they can find themselves in. Talk about the present and discuss the future. It might be a bit one-sided sometimes, but that's okay.
Listen. Know what's going on with your teen by listening for what they do and don't say. Ask pointed questions that can't be answered with a simple yes or no.
Give advice. Based on your conversations about situations, present or possible, offer advice where you can. I like to give the reasons behind why I suggest or discourage a certain course of action. In my experience, teens often want to know the why as much as the how.
Don't despair. As evidenced by my daughter's response, even when we think they're not listening, they are. Don't give up. Keep talking, listening and giving.
Now when I get the eye roll or hear “Moooommmm”, I smile. It means I'm making sense to them. That makes my day!
Marietta Taylor is the mom of two girls ages 15 and 13 and has been married for 17 years. The family moved from Chicago to Raleigh in 2003. The first few years were a wild ride and were the inspiration for her first book, "Surviving Unemployment Devotions To Go!" Read more about Mari on her blog and website. And find her here monthly on Go Ask Mom.