“ I would like my dad to be more understanding and more open minded, it seems that its easier to keep things to ourselves because we feel we cant talk to dads without being judged or having a consequence of some sort.”
(Text from a teenage girl about what she wants from her dad)
Just the other day I sat with a young woman who called her dad for advice on getting her car fixed. She said that as she apologized to her dad for always calling about this kind of stuff he told her, “that’s what dads do”. Dads can be helpful and dads often give great advice! In fact, I still call my dad sometimes when I want his feedback on something. I have a feeling that will always be the case, and I have a feeling that my dad secretly hopes that never changes.
However, that desire to fix things, to help, and to always have a solution or an opinion isn’t always the right move. One of my favorite quotes (I would give credit if I knew where it came from, but I don’t) is: “God gave us 2 ears and just one mouth for a reason”.
You want to help your daughter feel “heard” and “understood”? Don’t always be so quick to answer and to speak. Listen. Yes, just listen. Ask questions that are not yes or no questions, and listen to her. I think one of the reasons people were drawn to Jesus was because He listened and asked great questions. Many girls want an ear and if asked the right questions, they may come to the conclusions you are hoping they will without you needing to lecture them. You may even learn a thing or two from them.
I went to a seminar not long ago about helping kids in crisis and as I was flipping through my notes I found this statement “being heard is so close to being loved, the average person doesn’t know the difference – listening is loving.” We show people we appreciate them when we listen and pay attention.
I am far from a prefect parent so I need to take my own advice on this one, but let’s try listening before we speak, asking good questions before we blaze in with consequences, and lead with our ears and not our mouths.
Let’s actively listen!
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