Consider this: you’re a teenager and your mother is yelling at you for something that you did, or didn’t, do. We’ve all been in that situation and it tends to make us more stubborn and more insistent on defending ourselves, particularly if we already know we shouldn’t have done what we did. The fact that we know that we were in the wrong only makes the shouting worse.
Then there are the times when your parents just went on and on at you about studying and applying yourself to whatever it is you’re doing and trying your hardest.
Or the simple “You need to clean your room” that can send a teenager into apoplectic fits!
What the teenager hears is nagging or they’re not good enough or the parent is getting in the way of them having a good time or ruining their plans or they’re just being pushy.
What if, as a teenager, instead of hearing what your parent said as being all about you not being good enough, what you heard was “I love you and I want your life to work out”?
How would that change things?
Think about it.
Most of the people reading this are parents and the rest are old enough to understand: when you’re talking to your kids, what’s behind EVERYTHING you say?
What’s behind all the frustration, all the worry, the anxiety, the nagging?
I love you and I want your life to work out. That’s what’s behind it all, right?
How would it change things if your kids could hear that instead of hearing “you’re not good enough” or “you never do things right” or “I’m going to stop you having fun”?
How would it have changed things for you as a teenager if you’d heard what your parents said from that viewpoint? That EVERYTHING they said was out of a concern for you?
If you’re having an argument with your spouse or partner, instead of reacting to what they’re saying, what if you listened to what’s going on BEHIND their words?
It might still not be very nice but at least you’re hearing the TRUTH.
What comes out of people’s mouths isn’t generally what’s really going on. Stand in their shoes, look at things from their point of view and see if you can find out what’s really going on.
That knowledge will probably make a huge difference to how the conversation goes.