I was speaking with a youth worker not too long ago who said that many parents have no idea what their children are up to, They send their children to school, to church or to the youth club, and they think their kids are okay, but they really don’t know what their children do once they leave their sight.
This reminded me of my church’s group for young people, which I had attended as a teen. The group had a good reputation for being a place where teens could talk about what was on their minds. Youngsters would come from miles around to take part on Sunday mornings, even if they had no other involvement with the church.
I remember once saying to my mother, who was an elder of the church, that some of the young people were in gangs, or had friends who were gang members. She dismissed this, saying, “Nobody at that church is in a gang”.
When you don’t listen to your child and pay attention to what’s on her mind, what matters to her, you miss an opportunity to bond with him or her.
Young people want to connect with their parents and share what is of value to them. Every time you avoid listening to your child, you miss what could potentially be a wonderful chance to strengthen your parental bond. Even if you don’t agree with what he is saying, it is important that you show an interest in what your child cares about.
You may also miss the chance to address a very serious issue. I recall another woman, who worked with a group of teens, saying that her organization was working on a project about sexual assault, and how to make the youngsters aware of the need to protect themselves. One day, her own daughter told her she had been assaulted by the mother’s boyfriend some years earlier. When the mother said, “Why didn’t you tell me?”, the daughter replied, “I did. You told me to wash”. The mother was obviously devastated by this.
Busy, stressed parents may be in denial about their children’s activities, and even about threats they may be vulnerable to. When we make time to listen to our children, we have the chance to understand what is really on their minds.
About the author:
This guest post was written by Zhana. She is a writer, publisher and Transformational Growth Consultant. Her new ebook, Affirmations for Parents, gives practical suggestions of how to have brilliant communication between you and your child. You can download it from:
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