Sometimes conversations with young people—especially your own children—can become confrontational. Learning to listen can help prevent slamming doors and, instead, open them. Though challenging, being available for frequent, in-depth conversations is an important role parents and other adult family members can play in children’s lives—from the time they learn to talk all the way into adulthood. The goal is to promote and maintain an open-door policy. Ask open-ended questions and then listen, listen, listen. Positive Family Communication is Asset 2 of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.
Here are the facts
Research shows that young people who experience positive communication with their parents are more likely to grow up healthy and are more willing to seek their parents’ advice and counsel. About 28 percent of young people, ages 11–18, enjoy positive communication with their parents and are willing to seek their parents’ counsel and advice, according to Search Institute surveys. Practice consistently communicating—talking and listening to young people—with an open mind and heart.