Like all of us, our teens want to feel heard. If our kids expect an angry outburst they’ll choose secrecy over full disclosure. Responding in tears and “woe is me” makes their struggles all about us, which again shuts down communication. Laying down stiff consequences without hearing their side of the story breaks trust entirely. Dishing out advice before they’ve had a chance to fully express their thoughts will send them running in the opposite direction. Let’s take hold of God’s wisdom that “everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” so we can parent in “the righteousness that God desires” .
Quiet listening requires a heavy dose of humility on our part. Yes, our kids’ immaturity shows in some of the foolishness that comes out of their mouths. It can stretch our patience as they “think out loud” and take a while to circle around to their point. Questions that feel confusing to kids seem simple and obvious to us, yet much growth can happen if we give them time and space to wrestle with their options. When we choose to be still and listen attentively, we offer freedom for our kids to keep talking. The patience and respect we show through our silence allows a true exchange of ideas to take place.