There is a real difference between listening to someone, and actually hearing them. We all can sense this instinctively, and your kids and teens are no exception! When we listen, the words are being processed by our brain into understandable terms, and we can make sense of the language and words being used. However, hearing someone involves much more than this – it means to honour and choose to gain a better understanding of what that person is trying to tell us, and truly respect what they have to say.
Kids and teens really want to be heard, not just listened to – exactly like we do as parents! By the way, almost no young people I have ever worked with equate being listened to with getting their own way. In fact, almost all young people have a much easier time not having their wishes or requests granted if they feel like they have received a fair and respectful hearing beforehand. The key is to help them truly feel like their perspectives were considered and full presence was given! When this occurs, chances are very good that “unexplainable” bouts of anger become far less frequent.