My thoughts seem valid…I know where I stand and I am not afraid to speak up. But, what I hear from my kids is often a different opinion, perspective and, at times, they disagree! Even though I raised them to have strong values and advocate for themselves, for some reason when they do speak up and they have a different perspective than me it takes me by surprise! It was when I realized that this happens to everyone, a lot, it made sense why this world can feel so crazy and motherhood is so hard. But, what can we do to make a difference in parenting a difficult teenager? The answer: Know your Blindspots and adjust.
The #1 Blindspot for communication and understanding your teenager is allowing Perspective. We DO NOT all think alike. To state it more clearly: EVERYONE DOES NOT SHARE YOUR OPINION or THINK LIKE YOU. The point is: They are NOT supposed to! In fact, there is NO WAY they could. We have all come to this point from different places with different experiences and different thought patterns, so we must adapt. We must allow others to have their perspectives and we can have ours…and that’s okay!
Are you experiencing an ‘Ah-Ha’ moment? Great, let’s discover some more!
Blindspot #2- The meaning in a conversation happens in the LISTENER, not the speaker (Yes, I said that correctly). The interpretation is what is actually absorbed at the end of the interaction, and yes…by your angry teenager, even if it was not what was intended (which is often the case). Therefore, it is ULTRA important to check in with whoever you are interacting with to be sure you actually heard their message and you are both on the same page. I call this ‘Double Clicking’ (just like when you click right or double click on a computer mouse to dig for more information and get clarity).
Blindspot #3- The human brain drops out of conversations every 6-8 seconds to process information (or, more accurately, to have our own thoughts about the topic) which causes us miss out on content until we consciously check back in...that is a lot of gaps and dual content processing. No wonder we walk away with different versions of the same thing!
Blindspot #4- ‘I think I know what you are saying and I am preparing my response while you talk.’ If I am ASSUMING I already know what they are trying to say, but am not ACTIVELY listening, I am missing their meaning and, therefore NOT ACTUALLY HEARING. (See Blindspot #1).
Blindspot #5- Hearing with ‘Threatened Ears’. If we are speaking to someone we are in disagreement with we automatically have our defenses up and are not willing to hear what they are trying to say. If both people have walls up you might as well talk to the wall or go home because nothing is going to be exchanged in the end. The antidote for this situation is to be willing to be truthful and vulnerable enough to reach a common ground and work toward active listening to each other’s perspective.
As you can see, there are several reasons you may not be communicating as well as you would like, especially when talking to an angry teenager! You may have also learned that there are strategies to improve your listening skills. The first step is a willingness to connect (even with your defiant teenager) and become aware of your blindspots.
Watch this video to learn the ‘7 Steps to STOP THE TAILSPIN’ now with your teenager:
For more information on positive parenting teens with love and logic please contact Coach Lisa Woodford at www.lisawoodford.com. Learning to communicate effectively will improve all your relationships, reputation and very possibly your stress levels!