With parents of teenagers, I have two words I repeat over and over in my counseling office: empathy and questions. Basically, we talk at teenagers way too much. We lecture more than have conversations. And conversations are honestly what they need most. Conversations help them connect the dots, rather than us connecting the dots for them. And our dots won’t lead them into adulthood or carry them into college. They need to learn to connect the dots themselves…which means we need to ask good, thought-provoking questions.
Our favorites involve empathy.
“That seems tough…what do you want to do about it?”
“Sounds really hard. What do you think will help?”
“I see why you would be really struggling in that. It would make me sad, too. What do you think God would want you to do?”
We want to help you with those questions. So, once a month, we’re going to have a feature on our blog called “Talking with Teenagers.” Based on an article Sissy has written in Parenting Teens magazine, we’ll be highlighting an issue per month, and helping you with questions you can ask to get the teenagers in your life thinking and talking…which both sometimes they do a little too sparingly. So, spread the word to other parents of teenagers. Let’s do a little less talking, a lot more listening, and better question asking with the kids we love. We believe you and the kids you love will both learn a lot in the process.