Great to hear Jonny Benjamin MBE on the Radio this weekend on the Graham Norton show.
He shared his ‘Stranger on the bridge Story’ and the benefits of sideways listening and talking in car journeys and how it helped him communicate with his parents at a time when he was struggling with his mental health.
Sideways listening can be helpful at any time for a family, especially as it can be perceived by teenagers as teenagers can perceive direct eye contact as quite intimidating. Indirect eye contact encourages more openness of communication at an age when they naturally keep more from their parents or are reluctant to discuss difficult topics of conversation.
You can encourage your children and teenagers to talk with ‘sideways listening’, just by starting a conversation whilst out running, walking, driving, baking or craft activities. It’s unobtrusive and often when people are most relaxed and provides reassurance to children and adolescents that parents are actively listening to their highs and lows.
Finding time and space to listen will help parents and children form stronger relationships and helps build their self-esteem.
It’s not about getting your children to listen to you, it’s just as important for you to listen to them.