My 16-year-old participates in many activities at school as well as extracurricular lessons at an educational center outside.
She’s chosen these activities all by herself, and I didn't force her to go into any of them, but one day, she’d just had it, she said and got really upset.
“I'm not going to the center tomorrow, I'm so tired, this is too much for me,” she said.
When I stopped Applying Logic to My Daughter's Issues Magic Happened
Previously when she’d said something like that I would have talked to her using logic. I’d have asked her exactly what was bothering her. I’d have discussed every single cause and the possible effect of the situation. I would have felt like I’d been trying to help, without actually getting anywhere. She would usually always just shrug these suggestions off, and the tension would spiral.
But since learning parenting tools through Hand in Hand Parenting, I’ve found a surprisingly different way to respond that takes away the struggles.
And so, on this day I didn’t say much.
My response was, “This must be so hard for you.”
And then I listened.
She talked about how hard the classes feel.
She told me how exhausted she was.
She started to cry a bit, and I listened.
Staying in the Moment Helped More Than Offering Solutions
She kept talking, far more than if I’d been trying to troubleshoot. She told me about her friends at school. How her friendships had been changing through the months. How she’d met some different people who she thought were nice but then turned out not to be what she’d expected.
I listened. My only words were few and in support of her feelings. “I’m here.” “This must be so exhausting for you.”
She agreed and kept talking. That day, I came to know a lot that I hadn’t known before, a lot of tensions she was feeling and suffering. There were moments when questions came into my mind as she talked. I worried that in some way I'd been pushing her or forcing her to join all of these activities, but then I remembered that my role was simply to listen to her, just listen and support.
I didn’t have to try and solve anything for now.
She kept talking until finally, she asked if I’d drive her over to the center for a class the next day, and I agreed. She was so bright! It felt that there was a burden lifted from her chest. She even told me, a few days later, how happy she was that I’d listened to her and that she had felt so relieved afterward. I, of course, was happy that she had been so open with me.
This Simple Exercise Has Been So Effective
What I did with my daughter seems astoundingly simple. I just listened to her. But that space gave her room to feel heard. She felt connected and safe enough to offload her emotions so that her mind cleared and more rational thinking returned.
No logic needed.
Get more powerful parenting tools with Hand in Hand
Get more ideas like these in the book Listen: Five Simple Tools To Meet Your Everyday Parenting Challenges and learn how to apply the tools in your family in six sessions with the Hand in Hand Starter Class.