I recently saw a speaker and felt like she was talking at me not to me. I made up a story that she was not a good listener and that it just really didn’t resonate with me.
However, later in the talk, in a moment of clarity, I realized my assessment of the speakers’ style came not from her, but instead from me. Meaning I am talking at people. After recently watching Brene Brown’s Netflix special, I just want to be vulnerable in this blog post and share my experience.
I checked out this a-ha moment with my “editor” and she confirmed my suspicion. Indeed, my writing sometimes sounds telling and "judgy" or they just have some weird energy that is just not authentic to who I am. And who I am when I speak one on one with people or in groups. And so, I’m sharing that with you because this is a vulnerable place for me. And according to Brene, vulnerability when done correctly, creates connection. And connection is part of my life’s’ purpose.
Conversely, this telling piece, telling, telling doesn’t create vulnerability, it doesn’t create connection. Talking at people… I’m doing this in my life, in my blog posts, in relationships and I’m certainly doing that with my teens.
And since this weeks’ theme is around secretive teens and why they are secretive, I wondered if there is a connection between talking at and/or telling people and secretiveness.
Instead of talking at, I decided to listen to some folks! After chatting with some parents and teens about secretiveness, here is what came up: Parents feel like their kids have ulterior motives but what they really want is for their young person to be happy and succeed in life. Young people just want to be heard, accepted and have freedom to do the things they want to do.
What happens though is that we parents sometimes focus on what we don’t want, and end up judging them for their choices instead of simply listening. We end up alienating our young person in the moment, or in the long term. And this is how the cycle of secretiveness goes.
What if, instead, we slow down, take a deep breath and process our fears. What might happen if we change our orientation to what, we parents, really want (our kids to be successful) while keeping in mind what our kids want (to be seen)?
We can really use this as a recipe for everyone to get what they want.
Challenge for today:
The next time your teen shares something, just listen and acknowledge him/her without judgement. Then thank them for sharing.