The Power of Listening
“One of the very best things we can do is to simply spend time with our kids and, as we do that, listen to them," says Dr. Barrow. "As a parent, you might be facing very real problems such as a job loss or mounting bills, but that doesn’t mean your teens’ problems are any less impactful or important. It’s crucial to let them talk and to listen to them without lecturing or trying to somehow minimize their stress by comparing it to your own."
Dr. Barrow explains that even when a young person may not choose to fully verbalize their feelings, the time you spend with them may have a more positive influence than you realize. It may also be helpful to ask questions that encourage them to share more about what they are dealing with inside.
"It’s important to invite them to talk and to also be comfortable with silence as they try to think of an answer," says Dr. Barrow. "Ask open-ended questions that might prompt something more than a grunt. For example, if they say, ‘I'm tired’ or ‘I’m not sleeping well,’ that gives you the opportunity to respond by saying something like, ‘Tell me more about that,’ or ‘Can you explain what you mean?’”
Though the future of COVID-19 may be unknown, the need to connect with and value the thoughts and emotions of the younger people in our own household becomes even more important with each passing day.
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