How to Listen

During such a hard life experience, reliable and trustworthy friends are one of the most important things a teen who has lost their parent will need. As a fundamental part of your friend’s support system, be sure that your friend knows that you will be there for them if they want to talk about how they feel, or even just about anything else. We all learned it in kindergarten: a good listener is attentive and kind; yet, this can be an attitude that is usually easier said than done, an attitude that can be hard to maintain over long periods of time.

Listening to your friend or family member may be a little out of your comfort zone, and it will often be hard to relate to what they are going through. It’s important to remember that when they are talking to a friend they are not expecting to be told exactly what to do and how the future will pan out. Be cautious about prescribing “shoulds” and “don’ts”. The best thing you can do is make sure they know that whatever they are feeling, they are not alone. It’s always easier to talk to people who are close to you, so make sure to maintain that bond by talking about other things, without avoiding the topic of what happened.

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