There are plenty of articles about the different ways in which we learn, and the sensory systems each individual body uses to let information in. Information that grows brains and expands our awareness.
The information that is lacking is how each individual’s learning style interacts with another individual’s learning style. The way in which we ‘gel’ together.
And that is where communication is so important.
Being able to talk with your adolescent as they learn means you get to check their understanding. Their unique learning.
If your tween, teen, or adolescent tells you, “It’s too hard.” How do you respond? Can you hear yourself in any of these responses?
- Using a bossy voice, “Just get your assignment done.”
- Cue sarcastic tone, “You must really love school because you’re spending all this time on your work.”
- The fed-up response, “There’s no one but you to blame for taking all this time to get one little assignment done.”
- A barrage of questions, “How long have you known about this assignment? Why is it taking you so long? Are all your friends finished? How come you always leave it to the last minute? What will your teacher say?”
- The nice approach, “Never mind dear, I’m sure it won’t really matter in the long run.”
Or do you simply say, “I hear you telling me, this is too hard for you.” Then you wait for them to acknowledge that yes, that is what they meant, or no it’s something else.
This pause is critical. It is the pause that puts you and your young person on the same side. And it’s this little pause, this not jumping in that we so often miss.
When you have gotten to the truth of how they are finding their problem, you can then ask, “Which piece is tricky?” It may be that they don’t know where to start. Or perhaps they’ve got a general idea but they can’t grasp the finer details.
That gives you options. And ways forward.
In this example, your teen would then be able to get back to their teacher and tell them exactly what the problem is so they can ask for specific help.
Not only are you on the same side as your adolescent, but you are also teaching them how to identify their immediate needs, allowing them to communicate clearly – which gives them a much higher chance of getting their needs met.
Listening to, and talking with our kids gives everyone a way forward.
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