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How to Con Your Parents into Listening to You

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Ken Rabow on Our Kids

Okay. Lock the door. Pull down the shades (do you have shades?) and cozy up to a truth every teen knows: Parents never really listen! You know that, your friends know that, that guy with the crazy hair down the street says his parents listen but he's home schooled. So here's the big question: How can teens teach their parents how to listen?

But first, let's look at some of the complaints teens have about their oblivious parents:

Teen: Mom, I'm taking the bus to school today.
Actual meaning: I made a huge dent in the side of the car last night.
Parent: That's okay, dear; I could use the car for shopping this morning, anyway.
Complaint: Like, didn't she get it? Oh, she will. She will.

Teen: Dad, can I stay at my friend's house and play more video games?
Actual meaning: We're too bloated on cheese doodles to move.
Parent: Well, as long as your friend's parents are okay with it, I guess so.
Complaint: Like, I guess if his parents don't know we're pigging out, we're fine. So, why does Dad mind I'm covered with cheese doodle paste... and so are the sofa cushions... and the carpet... and the dog ....

The thing is, most of the time teens are fine with not being listened to by their parents. But here's the problem: What happens when you really need them to? You see, all your training in getting them to ignore you isn't going to come in handy. You're, like, the kid who yelled woof! Or barked, or something.

So, how do you get your parents to listen when you need them to?
Well, here's the bad news. You can't. They're too old to change their ways and they only get smart again when you're around 25. But here's good news!. If you start to listen to them, they will start listening to you! I know, I know, it's a lot of work, but let me tell you: it's worth it.

Try this at home folks! Next time your parents are blathering on about something, pretend that it's important.

Take mental notes of what they're saying and see if you can make sense of it in your superior teen mind. Then say it back to them, to make sure you understood what they said, but in your own words. If they tell you that was exactly what they meant, then act like you care. Tell them how it would make you feel if that had happened to you. Try to imagine what it would be like.

Tell them it makes sense to feel the way they do (All the things you never hear). But now, get ready for the sick part: It actually feels really good to do this sort of listening. Only a teen could do it so well. But you never know, sometimes parents can learn new things before you are 25.

Also, if you try this listening thing out on friends, they actually start listening back. Whoah! Before you know it, you may find this stuff is habit forming. Listening and being listened to. It doesn't suck!

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