As an adult, don’t assume your knowledge or opinions should be prioritized in youth spaces. Rather than dictating or offering suggestions, listen thoughtfully and compassionately. Validate and act on feedback when appropriate.

Background and Strategies

Listening is central to effective communication, which is necessary for trusting relationships. One must first listen before they can offer proper support of any kind. Listening with respect, without the need to respond or defend, and without expectation are key features of effective listening.

“An adult can begin to break down barriers by listening well to young people, and listening can be used to help young people build relationships with each other. If we can learn to listen to young people with the understanding that, given enough attention and encouragement, they truly have the best answers, we can help them make permanent changes in their lives” (Youth On Board, 2001).

Modeling active listening and similar behaviors can also help youth better interact in their own relationships.

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