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Bridging the Generation Gap
Communication is challenging enough, but when it comes to talking with your teenager, it can get downright frustrating. Figuring out ways to learn how your child's day really was (the good stuff--more than those one-word answers that tell us nothing) is an art that can be learned.
Where to Find Help
How To Talk So Teens Will Listen & Listen So Teens Will Talk: Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish come to the rescue of parents yet again with the teenage version of their earlier book, How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. Both books offer practical advice and cartoons aplenty so busy parents can cut to the chase in their search for effective ways of talking with and listening to their children.
Keep Your Sense of Humor Intact
I can't tell you how many times I've been driving and regaling my teen with some story or other, only to hear at the end of it, "What was that?"
To save myself from the ensuing despair, I try to remember how funny this story will sound later. I also try to laugh right then and there with my child (which always works better than chiding him for not listening). One thing I have learned is that humor works wonders in conversation.
Another ice breaker for our family has always been reading aloud, which offers a safe common ground for discussion topics that often lead to insights about each other we might have missed otherwise.
First and foremost, however, is to remember you have to be quiet and listen whenever your child tries to tell you something. She is a lot more likely to learn how to listen to you if you consistently show her your willingness to make listening to her a priority.
Pat Oey has been working hard at listening ever since she was a child and her mother told her in an exasperated tone, "You just don't listen!"