Parenting

Being a Good Listener When Talking About Underage Drinking

This is a sponsored post by Anheuser-Busch.

Sharing information with your kids is only part of having the discussion about underage drinking. It’s equally important to be a good listener so they feel that their concerns and questions are really being heard. There are three different “levels of listening” parents use:

Level 1: Listening with an agenda.

When you sit your child down to talk with a specific goal or agenda in mind, you might not actually be listening at all. Instead, you are probably relying on a script or list of topics you want to get out on the table, and have a specific outcome in mind. If your child wants to stray from your agenda, you might not be receptive to their questions or concerns. This may result in misinterpretations, misunderstanding, and hurt feelings (on both sides).

Level 2: Listening from your perspective.

At this stage, you’re listening to what your child has to say, but you’re probably relating it back to your own views and experiences: “I remember what it was like to be a teenager! When I was your age ...” These kinds of comments can be frustrating for kids, who might still feel like you’re pushing an agenda on them without having a real give-and-take discussion about the issues. You think you’re having a conversation, but it’s really very one-sided.

Level 3: Listening with an open mind.

True listening means taking in what your child says without judgment or criticism, and responding directly to their opinions, ideas, and concerns -- not just promoting an agenda. The focus here is on what your child is saying, not what you believe or what you think you should be saying. Ask your child open-ended questions to encourage more detailed replies. Listen and respond with an open mind to show that you respect what your child is saying. Doing so will build trust and encourage an open and honest dialogue going forward.

Does learning about the levels of listening change how you’ll talk to your kids about important issues like underage drinking?

 

For more tips about talking to kids about underage drinking, click here to download a helpful guide for parents. Or join the conversation on the Anheuser-Busch Family Talk About Drinking Facebook page.

drugs & alcohol, issues, safety