When you were 14, did you hang on every word your parents said? When what they said was critical? When it was demanding? When it was complaining about whatever you’d done or not done or should want to do?
Sure. I know I did.
At a speaking club meeting (POWERtalk International, you should check it out!) I was introducing my dad, more or less saying that I learned a lot about speaking from him, as I knew him to be a skilled orator. He got up to respond and started with ‘I never knew she was listening…’ and was unable to continue, in the face of the laughter.
The thing is, when a parent says ‘they don’t listen to anything I say,’ I have a pretty good idea what’s going on. The parent isn’t saying ‘can I make your favourite breakfast?’ or ‘what would you like to do this evening?’ or ‘I’m thinking of getting you a car, what kind do you want?’
Primarily, what the parents are saying is perfectly audible to the child. It’s merely that the message is either a re-run, or unwelcome, or created and delivered for the sole purpose of controlling the thoughts, words or actions of the victim…
Change the tune, maybe?