One of the purposes of adolescence is to try out lots of problems.
When your teenager has a problem, who are they most likely to turn to?
You? Probably not!
Instead, they will more likely be going to ask their friends. Or google.
What’s a parent to do? While we don’t want to be hearing all about the latest dramas and small problems, we do want to be in touch with the daily ups and downs of their lives. And, to know about the problems that may, potentially, turn into catastrophes.
Active, empowered parents are there to guide their adolescents through their problems. And the best, most useful way to do that is … to be quiet. Say as little as possible. Zip the advice.
I’m not saying ignore the problem.
I’m saying be aware of the problem. Make space for the problem. Then listen to your adolescent as they think about the problem. Do more listening than you do talking. That handy ratio nature gave us of two ears, one mouth. Use that.
By listening, reflecting, and listening some more you are giving your adolescent space to solve their problem. Not adding to their problem with what you think, your thoughts, your opinions, your ideas. As well intentioned as you may be – that’s your stuff, not their stuff.
If they do say, “What do you think?” Answer with love.
And leave the conversation knowing the gift you are giving is greater than the advice it’s wrapped in. The gift you gave your adolescent is the space to explore their own minds.
Looking for coaching and to find out how to get to this place with your teenager? I offer a mix of online learning and one-to-one coaching for maximum change. Find more information at www.beautifulconversations.co.nz/courses