Holding off on advice

Listening to our children while resisting the urge to jump in and solve the problem for them is not easy. However, often our children just want us to hear their concerns. They don’t necessarily want our advice; they just want to be heard.

Recently I overheard a teen complaining about how confusing a school worksheet was because the teacher had put the directions at the bottom of the worksheet instead of the top. Before she had finished speaking her dad interrupted and told her that an “A” student would always read through the entire worksheet first then retype and answer the questions in a separate document.

This interaction probably left the girl feeling chastised and completely unheard. Had the dad instead let her finish speaking and then said something like “Wow, that sounds frustrating.”, she might have felt both supported and understood.

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