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Empathy is the respectful understanding of what others are experiencing. It is listening with the whole being fully present and wanting to connect with the core essence humanity of the other person. Empathy can only occur when we have successfully shed all preconceived ideas and judgements. As a parent, when you communicate with empathy, you will find yourself speaking more factually, calmly, and reasonably, and your teen will be able to hear what you have to say instead of feeling the need to defend or flee. When you release the need to control, direct, convince or manipulate, you open up a compassionate communication channel that fosters a safe environment for sharing.

  • Would you like to share more about that?
  • Do you want to talk about it?
  • What do you think?
  • That's a good question.
  • Do you know what that means?
  • I don't know, but I'll find out.
  • I'm interested in what you are saying.
  • That sounds important to you.

* Use eye contact
* Use upbeat tone of voice
* Use positive gestures
* Use touches
* Smile as much as possible

  • Why are you asking me that?
  • You don't need to know about that.
  • If you say that again, I'll...
  • That's none of your business.
  • I don't care what your friends are doing!
  • We'll talk about that when you need to know.
  • You are too young to understand.
  • That's just for boys/girls.
  • Don't come to me if you mess up.
Introduction | Talk with Your Teen | Dealing with Negatives | Explore, Do & Play | Parents' Checklist | Brochure (pdf)
Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.

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