Lend your ears

Adults sometimes feel that by their positions in the family hierarchy they have the right to speak, direct and instruct. As a teenager, I value the quality time I get from my parents and I recognize the privilege of their collective wisdom, experience and intentions.

Sometimes, however, adults forget to listen.

Listening is a key component of building solid relationships. Most teenagers are drowned in school work, jobs, peer pressure, temptations, exploration of their own minds.

Schools offer so many options that the plethora of choices is more confusing than exciting. Why is one type of Chemistry class better than the other, for example? Why can’t I just do 10th grade Math in 10th grade? Why do I need to attend 6 classes a day? Then we decide to grow up a little and get jobs but soon realize that no one taught us how to balance checkbooks or make direct deposits or for that matter, create bank accounts! I was fortunate to get help in writing a resume and I am blessed to have a working printer with ink at home. But can you imagine the pressure of a teenager who doesn’t have that kind of support? More often than one would like to admit, parents like their children to be involved in sports and extra curricular activities with every moment of the day filled up and hardly any room to breathe. Sometimes, we don’t even want to pursue those activities but we are thrown into them to get “exposure” or to nurture a passion…usually not ours.

So when your teen looks troubled or resorts to her DMs for emotional support, don’t jump to conclusions that the technology beast has taken over their life! Please ask. And listen.