Thursday, March 20, 2008

25. Teenagers need patient ears

Listening can be a key factor in our relationship with teenagers. Many parents wonder why their children prefer to speak to them in monosyllables. These are the same children who can talk for hour together to their friends. They are so eager to communicate with others that they cannot think of leaving their homes without mobiles. The same children are at a loss for words when it comes to talking to their parents.Teenagers have a lot to express. They are trying to come out of the comfort zone of their parents' protection. They are full of doubts and misgivings, and are trying to understand themselves and the rest of the world. At this stage, they need people who will listen to them with interest without jumping to conclusions.Parents have the habit of jumping to conclusions. They have no desire to put themselves in their children's shoes and see the world from their point of view. They are confident that they are the best judge of what is good for their children. They have a vision of what their children should be like. They do not want anyone to come in their way, not even the children themselves.Parents have heard umpteen number of stories about how teenagers are fast taking to drugs and acquiring other bad habits. They are scared and tense. They are desperate not to fail as parents. The result is that they listen to their children partially or without interest. They have an opinion on every issue and a ready-made solution for every problem. They are eager to impart this wisdom to their children. They have no willingness to let their children find answers on their own.Sometimes, parents listen to their children with a view to detecting if they are doing anything wrong. They want to probe and be sure that their children are on the right path. Children quickly sense that they are up against poor listeners and withdraw into their shells. When they speak to their friends for hours together, their envious parents wonder what is wrong with them.

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