The #1 complaint I hear from Teenagers is that no one listens to them.
The #1 complaint I hear from spouses is lack of listening to each other.
Take this listening self assessment to honestly assess how well you listen to others.
- Do you spend more time talking than listening?
- Do you finish the sentences of others?
- Are you aware of any biases and do they influence your thinking?
- Do you judge others?
- Do you listen to your internal dialogue and not the person who is speaking?
- Do you not let the other person speak?
- Do you plan your response before the other person has finished?
- Do you interrupt?
- Do you jump to conclusions?
- Do you think you have the answer/solution?
- Do you ask closed questions?
- Do you keep the conversation on what interests you, not on what the speaker says?
Tips for listening:
- Remember to breath fully while listening
- Zip your lips
- Wait for the invitation to share or request permission to share (if yes, proceed, if no, let it go)
- Be present by dropping everything and being present with others
- Gently place your tongue between your front teeth and focus fully on the speaker
- Listen to their Point of View (openly, without passing judgment, fixing, or opinion)
- Paraphrase or nod occasionally to express your attentiveness
- Listen for the core or underlying issue – it is through your gift of unconditional listening that others can resolve things for themselves
- Listen with your full attention and intention
Listening Put into Practice
- POST IT – Consciously take charge of your listening by posting LISTEN TO UNDERSTAND where you will see it a lot throughout the day as a reminder to change your habit.
- ATTENTION – STOP! When your teenager starts talking, put everything down, face them, take a breath to shift your attention fully to them and simply listen.
- ACCESSIBILITY – Reserve and schedule 1 night a week and call it LISTENING NIGHT. Clear a space in your schedule that is devoted to the relationship with your teenager.
Quote on Listening
When I ask you to listen to me and you start giving advice, you have not done what I asked.
When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way, you are trampling on my feelings.
When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do something to solve my problem, you have failed me, strange as that may seem.
LISTEN! All I asked was that you listen, not TALK or DO–‐‑ just HEAR me. Advice is cheap; $1 will get you both DEAR ABBY and Rev Bill, in the same newspaper.
And I can do for myself; I’m not helpless. Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.
When you do something for me that I can and need to do for myself, you contribute to my fear and weakness.
So, please listen and just hear me. And, if you want to talk, wait a minute for your turn; and I’ll listen to you.
Communication Tool – Think Before Speaking
- T – Is it true?
- H – Is it helpful/supportive?
- I – Is it Inspiring?
- N – Is it Necessary?
- K – Is it Kind?
- No to Any ? = Bite Your Tongue