“Just leave me alone!”

“But, I want to help. I think if you tried ….”

“I’m fine!!!!!!!!!!!!”

As the academic year is drawing to a close, stress may be building in your children and students. You may feel it and see it in them or they may act out in ways that make it obvious. It may worry you.

Just sit nearby.

Be present.

Be quiet.

Listen. Longer.

When kids talk, but then stop, wait to see if they start again. If they don’t, then try quietly saying, “Keep talking” rather than asking a question.

Those of us with word- and logic-smart strengths naturally problem solve. We want to figure things out. Sometimes I think we can solve children’s problems before they know they have them. We may laugh at this thought, but it’s really not funny. To them, it can feel disrespectful and we sure won’t help them become independent thinkers. They won’t have the confidence to think in cause-effect ways. They may not learn how to avoid the problems in the first place and solve them in the second.

Our strengths in word choice, communicating, and using reason cause us to analyze, ask questions, and make suggestions. But teens tell me they often feel interrogated when they’d rather just feel loved.

Their stress concerns you. You’d love to help them. Just listen. Longer.

Young people don’t want to feel like problems we’re trying to solve. They don’t want to feel broken and in need of repair. If they always feel like we’re trying to fix them, they may shut down.

Just sit nearby.

Be present.

Be quiet.

Listen. Longer.

Say, “Keep talking” rather than asking a question.

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(You can read pages 94-97 in No More Perfect Kids: Love Your Kids For Who They Are to see how Jill Savage and I address this.)