Communicating by listening and sharing from the heart is the currency of intimacy.
I recently conducted a workshop for parents of young adults in Mahtomedi, Minnesota. We had a very active group of parents who attended the workshop. Two observations stood out.
The Struggle to Engage with Young Adults
First, most parents were struggling to engage their young adult in any form of conversation beyond a quick one-word response or incomprehensible grunt. How well are you connecting to your young adult? Test this out by clicking on these two links:
Parents were reminded of the importance of understanding through non-judgmental listening. We need to hold back on the need to inform, instruct, direct and put more effort into listening to understand and build a relationship. Reflecting what you hear your young adult saying at both the content (head) and emotional (heart) level is critical. We all desire to be heard and understood at these two levels and so do they. The emotional level is the currency of intimacy, and if we don’t listen with the heart, we will miss out on a deeper connection to our young adult children.
Connecting with Other Parents
Second, these parents indicated how much they appreciated connecting with other parents. Many parents who see me in my private practice office think they are the only ones who are struggling with young adult challenges. Having the understanding and empathy of other parents who are challenged with young adult concerns is very affirming. Finding kindred spirits in the parenting arena was a big takeaway from this and previous workshops. Sadly, there are very few venues where parents of young adults can get together and discuss their related issues. The parentslettinggo.com website has been envisioned as a place of mutual help where parents can share concerns and offer suggestions or experiences of actions that have worked. I am a real believer in the wisdom of the community, and as parents, we can learn so much from each other.
Please raise questions in the comments section below that you would like other parents to weigh in on or share something you have learned so we can learn together.
Note: There are plans to offer this same workshop through a webinar venue that will you to access this at your convenience. Please check on the website for future announcements regarding this webinar. Also, I am available for church, school or community groups to present my work with parents of young adults. Contact me today to learn more!