Every person, no matter what age, has a deep need to be valued and respected. One very important way to show respect in your relationships is to make the effort to listen attentively. When you're talking with someone, don't multitask; give them your undivided attention. Don't focus on what you are going to say next, zero in on the other person's words. You may already know where the conversation is headed, but that's okay; be considerate and let them finish anyway.
Maybe someone asks you a question and you know the answer before they finish speaking. Resist the urge to cut them off. I've found this to be especially important with children. I recognized early on in motherhood that my children have a need to be heard. I desire to meet that need and instill confidence in them, so I have learned to be creative when communicating with them. I do my best to give them the opportunity to share their feelings and explain their point of view. I want them to know that I value and respect what they have to say. I want to instill value in them instead of just saying, "The answer is no—just because I said so!"
As a parent, I don't believe you have to justify every parenting decision or candy-coat everything you say to your children, but you can always find a way to present your point in a positive, educational way that allows some dialogue. If you have teenagers in your house, you know how important it is for them to be heard. Don't shut them down with "It's not up for discussion." Sometimes they don't even care if they get their way; they simply want you to listen to them.
When you are quick to listen it builds confidence in your loved ones. It makes them feel valued and respected. Today, look for ways to give the gift of listening and sow seeds of life into your relationships!
"Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath" (James 1:19, NKJV).