While talking and texting with their friends comes naturally, as kids enter those adolescent years, talking with their parents can become strained. It seems we moms only get busier as our children grow, so we must train ourselves to become even more intentional about listening. Believe me, you don't want to miss anything they say!
Listen without talking. Middlers are sometimes slow to pull their thoughts together. After all, they are developing mentally, as well! Your child needs a patient listener who does not interrupt or try to rush him through a conversation. My middler knows that I fall short in this area of listening. I try to keep James 1:19 before me: ...be quick to listen, slow to speak...
Listen without fixing it. Often your twelve-year-old just wants to talk through a decision she is making. She does not want you to make it for her. Determine if your child is asking for advice or if she is simply turning to you as a sounding board. How will you know? Just let her keep talking.
Listen without distractions. Take advantage of drives to sports practice and music lessons by showing your interest in listening to your child. Put the cell phone on silent and turn the radio down. Visit quiet places for occasional dates with your child. Secure in your undivided attention, they will love having you all to themselves!