Really, Like Totally Listening
What’s Your Connection IQ
by Danna Gresh
I know when my Lexi falls asleep at night. Her mouth stops moving! She’s been like that since birth. Sometimes out of sheer self-preservation, I tune out. That little beauty is on to my game. Every now and then, just as I’m about to immerse myself into my imaginary bath of Calgon, I hear her little voice bursting through my fantasy.
“Mom, what did I just say?” she challenges. Usually, I have to admit that I don’t know!
I know I’m not alone. At my teen girl events, I often ask attendees what they most want to change in their moms. Nearly every time a freckle-faced, braces-laden beauty raises her hand and says, “Like, she sometimes isn’t very focused when she talks to me. If she could, like, not wash the dishes or totally stop taking out the trash when I’m talking and, like, well, really, totally look me in the eyes and, like, listen!”
Right about then I start feeling like, really totally guilty.
The world of social science calls the wonderful ability to be fully engaged in your child’s life “connectedness.” I constantly need to be reminded about how vital it is to connect or I find that the busyness takes over. Do you ever find yourself needing the oxymoronic motivation to slow down? Check this out.
Our children are growing up in a world that offers more temptation than we knew as teens. One of the greatest factors to
reducing teen high-risk behaviors is parent-child connectedness. (Now that motivates me to slow down!) The Medical Institute for Sexual Health recognizes parent-child connectedness as the highest risk reducer to teen sex. The Journal of American Medical Association published a study by Michael Resnick, Ph.D. and his colleagues which found that teens who felt loved and connected to their parents had significantly lower incidence of teenage pregnancy, drug use, violence, and suicide. No matter the age of your child, it’s vital to connect. Trying to connect to them once they are teens is a great challenge if the habit isn’t already established.
What’s Your Connection IQ?
Want a little wake up call to see how you’re doing in the connection department. Sometimes, it’s the simplest things that encourage us that we’re doing well or remind us to slow down and try harder. Take this Connection IQ test to see how you’re doing.
What book have they read recently and really enjoyed?Who is your child’s best friend? Who does your child look up to and really admire?Who makes them feel inferior at school? What subject makes them passionate at school? What is their greatest goal for this year?What’s your child’s favorite Bible verse?What is your child’s spiritual gift?What’s the coolest thing God has said to your child lately?
If you were able to answer all of them or most of them, you’re Connection IQ is right on. If you got half of them, you’re doing OK, but need to maybe focus on just some more in-depth conversations. If you got four or less, it’s definitely time to study your child to increase your test results!
Dannah Gresh has sold over half a million copies of her books–including And the Bride Wore White and Lies Young Women Believe (co-authored with Nancy Leigh DeMoss), making her one of the most successful Christian authors targeting teens and tweens. Learn about her newest line-up of Secret Keeper Girl products, which creates ways for moms and daughters to connect, at your local Christian bookstore or visit www.secretkeepergirl.com.