Are you listening?

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Are you listening?

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Amongst all the things that teens need or want, being listened to and listened to well, being given positive, focused attention, is right up there, with love, unconditional happiness and Instagram. Might seem like a no-brainer, but if this was the case, then it wouldn’t be an issue, and I wouldn’t be writing this.

Being listened to has to go down as one of the core human psychological needs. It gives all of us a sense of worth and belonging second to none, a sense that we and our life experience really matters. So it seems strange that so often teenagers are deprived of what might deserve to be classified as a human right. Friends, family and teachers want attention and yet can’t give it. They can’t give something that has the impact of super rich oxygen: empowering, revitalising, relieving, re-humanising. Listening allows teenagers to tell their story uninterrupted and know it is valid and meaningful. It allows them to connect with themselves. As a result they walk taller, feel lighter, act stronger. Who would want to deny anyone such an outcome?

But you don’t have to look far to find endless teens bravely smiling to hide the unfulfilled desire. They’ll tell you they are fine. Many are not. So it’s constantly left to a minority – counsellors and the like – to try and fill the gap. We can all fill that gap, but as much as we might try, or say we try, we are distracted or find other things to do instead. In different combinations, we all have what it takes: curiosity, compassion and time. Question is, how willing are we  to apply them for the full benefit of teens? Let’s not forget that those who aren’t listened to, stop listening, stop caring. Finish and klaar.

#youthtruths  #listeningisgold

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