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.

  1. Do you spend more time talking than listening?
  2. Do you finish the sentences of others?
  3. Are you aware of any biases and do they influence your thinking?
  4. Do you judge others?
  5. Do you listen to your internal dialogue and not the person who is speaking?
  6. Do you not let the other person speak?
  7. Do you plan your response before the other person has  finished?
  8. Do you interrupt?
  9. Do  you  jump to conclusions?
  10. Do you think you have the answer/solution?
  11. Do you ask closed questions?
  12. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

~ Anonymous

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