Family Magazine

Are You On The Lecture Circuit?

By Joanigeltman @joanigeltman
Are you a lecturer quiz?
1. Y N Do you feel like you absolutely know what is best for your teen?
2. Y N Do you regularly expound on this to your teen?
3. Y N When your teen comes to you with a problem in his/her life to you jump into problem solver mode?
4. Y N Do you find it hard to take questions from your "listening audience"
5. Y N Do you like to be right?
I am guessing that we all got 100% on this quiz. Only this 100% probably won't get you an applause and a congrats from your teen. Problem solving comes very naturally to parents. We see our kids making mistakes, we see our kids in pain, we see our kids about to do something that is unsafe and it feels natural to want to protect them from all of it. Unfortunately your teens do not want your protection, they actually want the opposite of your protection. Which is weird, because they come to their parents with their problems, and as soon we go to give them our worldly advice, they respond with a rejection and a "you never listen!" And that is the crux of the matter. Your teens come to you because you love them, and know them better than anyone else. Their fantasy is they will tell you something and you will just listen. That's it, just listen. Here is the miscommunication. You think that when they come to you, they want you to tell them what they should do. But really they just want you to listen, maybe show some empathy, "oh honey, that must be so hard, or I'm sorry that must be so frustrating." But instead they get a "here's what I think you should do....!" And their eyes go dark.
Giving your teen the gift of listening is maybe your greatest gift to them. Unless they actually say the words, what do you think I should do?Go for a good nod, a hug, and some words of comfort. They are probably doing the work of figuring it out, and just need someone to bounce the words off and reflect back. Don't we all? This work of figuring it all out is what gives them the confidence they will need as they move into adulthood. If you do that work for them, they will never be prepared for they future that most assuredly is ahead for them.
PS: For anyone who lives in the Wellesley metro west area I will be interviewing The Boston Globe Love Letters/entertainment/columnist and author Meredith Goldstein about her new memoir "Can't help Myself" at Wellesley Books on April 11th @ 7 PM. Come have a glass of wine and some cheese and hang with me and Meredith!

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