There are many kinds of conversations that you need to have with your college student. Some conversations come easily, and at other times it’s a struggle to get your student to make time and/or to participate in the conversation. Some students share readily and others seem to resist our attempts to communicate.
Are you listening?
One of the first questions we, as parents, need to ask ourselves is how much we are actually listening to our students? Do we see these important conversations as simply opportunities to give our opinion? Is our definition of a “conversation” too one-sided? We may ask for reactions or opinions, or for students to share information, but do we actually listen to what they say? If we aren’t listening, are we surprised that they are less willing to share?
We’ve written some earlier posts about the importance of listening to your college student, and about some good habits to develop as a listener. If you want to hear more from your student, these earlier posts may help you get started.
OK, you’re listening, but how?
What we’d like to consider in this post is not whether you are listening, or even whether you are listening well, but how you listen. What’s your listening position? What’s your attitude as you listen? Not all conversations call for the same type of listening. We actually need to listen differently depending on the subject or the situation.