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  • Jacob Isaac

Active listening? what is that? They prefer their phones...


Active listening is especially important when communicating with teenagers. Here are specific tips for actively listening to your teen:


  1. Create a Comfortable Environment: Choose a quiet and comfortable space where you can talk without interruptions. This helps your teen feel more at ease when sharing their thoughts.

  2. Show Interest and Be Present: Demonstrate genuine interest in what your teen is saying. Put away distractions, make eye contact, and give your full attention to the conversation.

  3. Use Open Body Language: Maintain open and inviting body language. Avoid crossed arms or defensive postures, as these can create barriers to effective communication.

  4. Encourage Expression of Feelings: Let your teen know it's okay to express their feelings, even if those feelings might be difficult or challenging. Avoid judgment and instead focus on understanding.

  5. Validate Their Emotions: Acknowledge your teen's emotions and let them know that their feelings are valid. This helps create a supportive and non-judgmental atmosphere.

  6. Paraphrase and Summarize: Repeat what your teen has said in your own words to confirm your understanding. This shows that you are actively engaged and processing their thoughts.

  7. Ask Open-Ended Questions: Encourage your teen to share more by asking open-ended questions. These questions require more than a simple "yes" or "no" answer and promote deeper conversation.

  8. Reflect Empathy: Express empathy by acknowledging your teen's perspective. Use phrases like "I can see how that would be difficult for you" or "It sounds like you're feeling..."

  9. Avoid Immediate Solutions: Resist the urge to jump in with solutions right away. Sometimes, teens just need someone to listen without immediately trying to fix their problems.

  10. Be Patient: Adolescents may take some time to articulate their thoughts and feelings. Be patient and allow them the time they need to express themselves.

  11. Share Your Own Experiences Thoughtfully: When appropriate, share your own experiences or feelings. This can help your teen see that you understand and can relate to what they're going through.

  12. Be Non-Judgmental: Create an environment where your teen feels safe sharing without fear of judgment. Avoid criticizing or blaming, and focus on understanding their perspective.

  13. Respect Their Privacy: Respect your teen's need for privacy. If they are not ready to share certain details, don't push them. Give them space while still expressing your willingness to listen.

  14. Use Technology Wisely: Leverage technology to connect with your teen. Send thoughtful messages or texts, but also make sure to have face-to-face conversations to maintain a deeper connection.

  15. Express Unconditional Love: Remind your teen that your love and support are unconditional. Knowing they have a safe and supportive parent can encourage open communication.


Remember that building a strong and trusting relationship with your teen takes time. By actively listening, you create an environment where they feel heard and valued, fostering a deeper connection between you and your teenager.

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