Teen not listening; how to encourage good listening skills - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 2 Old 08-15-2011, 11:45 PM - Thread Starter
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First time to post over here or even read.  Good heavens, I'm really missing out!!!!


Sorry to just jump right in like this but could really use some sage advice.


I have an amazing 13 year old.  She tries so hard in so many ways.  But in this particular area, she just isnt good yet. 


She's going to be 14 next month and prior to now, I havent really cared terribly much.  We had other things to focus on.  But I feel now that it's really important that she learns to listen.


Some of it is a prideful attitude of "I know what I'm doing and no one can tell me".  While some of it is just plain not listening.  And I can't always discern the two.


An example, so everyone knows what I'm talking about:


This afternoon I told her to get my phone out of the school room and plug it in in my room, behind the door.  I came upstairs and it wasnt here.  She plugged it in downstairs.  That was not listening.  Plain and simple.  Not disobedience at all.  Just not listening.


And I dont really know how to help her. 


She has younger siblings so it seems a little demeaning to make her stand there and repeat the instructions I've given her. I make them do that.  You know?


Anyway, anyone else dealing with similar issues and what has worked and what hasnt. Feel free to recommend a book.  I love to read!

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#2 of 2 Old 08-17-2011, 11:18 AM
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   I read somewhere that really close listening

does the same sort of things to the brain that

meditation does. Listening is so basic to living

well with other humans that I don't think it's

possible to spend to much time developing it.

  That said, Teenagers act a bit like spouses I think.

They tend to minimize their listening to (while thinking

about something else) just down to the point where

you can't tell they're not really paying attention. I

used to think this was all the teenager's doing but

found that I was at least sometimes part of the

problem because I'm busy and sort of let it loose

while I'm doing two other things with the whole

thing done without eye contact.

   So I'm trying to be a better communicator by focusing

on teenager while speaking to her and modelling some

good listening as well.  Teens are excellent at spotting

inconsistencies so I try to be very attentive when they

speak. One mistake in listening on my part and I'm not

worth listening to for weeks.

   I try saying something like, "Are we cool?" or "Got that?"

with a questioning look on my face after asking for

something and respond with a "Good" when they affirm

they at least understood something.

  You could test her or play with her by making requests

that require more information such that what you request,

if she's listening, requires her to ask a question. A request

like, "Could you please bring me my sweater?" which

requires her to ask, "Which shoes?" possibly with an

exhausted what's up with Mom look. Probaly a poor

example but best I can come up with now and she might

just hate the whole thing but she might get you're tinkering

with your dialog with her and she might raise her listening.

  Maybe if she doesn't like the requests that require a

question deal you could adjust the whole level of listening

by asking questions which require perceptive listening.

We all, I think, want to be understood and wish perhaps that

people knew what was happening to us or what we wanted

or what was bothering us without the necessity of speaking

it. In a quiet moment look into her eyes (maybe a few times

a week) and ask her, "What do you sense I'm feeling right

now?" or maybe not so intense, "What am I thinking?" or

something like that that causes her to look closely at your

face, to listen very carefully to your voice as you speak

that calls on her to think about what your day's been like,

what's happened recently and all she can bring to bear to

"hear" you. I'd watch her carefully for a few days before trying

this trying to catch every little thing about her so that if she

asks you the same question(s) you might not be right but

you can tell her what you've heard.



"Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make

   for our children." ~ Tatanka Iotanka

 Join and help start the nonprofit organization "World Parent"


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