Still working my way through my top 10 list about parenting young adults …
Now, turning my attention to point #8 - Listen (or try to become a good listener)
This seems to me, based on conversations I had after my teaching on this topic, to be one of the hardest things for parents of fresh young adults to do.
We are still in advice-giving mode too often.
We want to just tell our grown-up kiddos how to live, how to avoid mistakes, and how to become like us!
When we do this, we lose them. Sometimes figuratively, sometimes literally.
We will explore this more in days to come, but may I just plead with parents for a moment?
If there is one thing you can work on that might dramatically alter the relational dynamic you have with your adult children it is learning to listen, listen, listen.
When they approach you and choose to share with you anything about their lives, will you decide in advance that your default mode will be to listen for a long time before you even speak a word?
And when you speak a word, can you determine beforehand that it will be a question rather than a statement?
Will you ask questions to help you understand more deeply what your child is saying?
Will you ask questions that encourage them to say more, to go deeper, to give you more insight into their life?
I dare you to try this.
Shelve your advice. Stop with giving your opinions. Don't judge or assume or presume.
Simply listen, ask a couple friendly, curious, open-ended questions and see what happens.
Your young adult will be shocked and amazed and may even talk with you for longer than 5 minutes.