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Really listen to your kids. James 1:9 says, "Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." Most of us are slow to listen, quick to speak, and quick to get angry. If you really want to find out what is going on in your teen, begin to listen to what they say. As some teenagers put it:

"They should have tried to listen. I don't even try anymore."

"They sent me to counseling without trying to help me themselves. They just gave up on me."

"They wouldn't listen, they overreacted."

"When I try to explain my feelings to my mom, she does not understand or see it the same; so she gets upset, snaps at me and tells me I'm wrong. She doesn't listen to my whole story."

"My parents would be the greatest parents in the world if they didn't ask me to be honest about my feelings and then get totally upset if I express my true feelings."

"I wish that my parents would stop talking and listen to what I have to say. I want to tell them so much, but they never stop to listen to me."

Make a habit of listening and not just when you ask, "What's going on in your life?" Listen when they share stories from school or other things that may seem unimportant to you. To keep your mind from wandering, repeat in your mind what they say to you.

Also, tune into the feelings behind the words. The words of a man's mouth are deep waters (Prov. 18:4). There's a person behind the words. They're trying to express something really deep if you'll only listen.

Something happens when you listen. The person you're listening to feels like you care enough to really tune in. You don't have to say you care. They can tell you do because you listen to them. That, in turn, will make your teen more inclined to listen to you.

There is, however, an unspoken reciprocity that makes a person feel obligated to listen to you after you have taken the time to listen to them. Don't make your teen feel obligated. Don't tell them they should listen. Wait for them to want to and you'll begin to see the walls break down.

Source: Rescue Manual For Parents by Ron Luce.
Excerpt permission granted by Albury Publishing

Author Biography

Ron Luce
Web site: Ron Luce
 
Ron Luce was the co-founder's and president of Teen Mania Ministries from 1986-2015. Ron and his wife Katie dreamed to raise up young people who would change the world.
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