In this post, I’m focussing on how we listen to our children. Recently I was interviewed by Beth Syverson on her podcast Safe Home. The link to the podcast; 
and the Youtube video is here; 
The Safe Home podcast is concerned with supporting young people who are acting out and their parents who are often confused and hurt by the loss of connection with their children. 
Some of these young people are using alcohol, weed or other drugs as well as rebelling against their families and schools. We can use the term addiction, which was called a disease for a long time but now is more often considered a solution for avoiding physical or emotional pain. 
One reason for addiction can be a traumatic event or series of events that the person has not been able to reconcile and still suffers deep pain when reminded of the events or is constantly managing their feelings generated by the past events. 
Many children have upsetting experiences that they never have the opportunity to work through with a trusted adult. In this case they are left to make up what the event meant about them and about life itself. Most often a child will assume that it was a lack in themselves or their fault that this event occurred. 
They then make up decisions about their worth and where they fit in the world or how they don’t fit in the world. Another common thing a child does is to make a vow or decision that gets buried in the unconscious where it runs below the level of every day thinking and eventually becomes a fact, “it’s just the way I am” or “life is harsh and dangerous.” 
Another thing that can cause the rebellion of young people is the lack of meaning in their lives. So many parents drive their children to succeed and push them to perform to perfection without listening to the child and how they see life. Parents may feel that if we listen to our children they will get their way or play all the time. 
Some may feel that children don’t know what they want and as a parent we have to tell them what is best for them. The challenge with this is that even when a child gets good grades and does well in school it will be out of fear or obligation and not a desire to learn. 
When a child reaches their teenage years they may feel like nothing matters and their success means nothing, and that life is meaningless. They may then look for something exciting that makes them feel alive and feel like they belong. 
This is not a result of a traumatic event, it is a result of being told what is important and meaningful rather than being asked what is exciting and engaging to them. They may choose to be dutiful and respond to the direction given them but if they have no personal investment this can disappear when they discover the effects of alcohol, weed or other drugs. 
When we listen to our children we learn what is in their hearts and minds and we can discover what makes them tick and what they love to do. This doesn’t mean we put them in charge, it just means that a parent can integrate the child’s passions with learning and a good education. And when they hit mid teens they are still engaged and feel that there is a purpose in school and family life. 
Listening is an essential skill that few families have and we have been lacking for generations. Listening to understand does not mean you give in or agree with what you hear, it gives you the information to make the most out of every conversation you have. 
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