12/31/2012 10:24 am ET Updated Mar 02, 2013

Starting the New Year Right with Your Teen

Each New Year brings with it the time-honored ceremony of stating a New Year's Resolution. Most of the goals set have something to do with loosing weight, making more money or just being a better person.

This year, I have an idea.

What if our New Year's Resolutions revolved around helping others achieve theirs? Stay with me for a second.

This year, when you're sitting around the New Year's table with your family, take a second and try to listen well. I know... I know... New Year's Resolutions are supposed to be about personal goals, but what if this year you took a second and listened to what everyone in your family was interested in doing?

I'm not saying we have to arm up and be the deputized armed patrols of the family, but as parents, if we took a second to listen to what our kids were interested in, then we might have a leg up on how to talk to them in 2013.

So many parents I run into are trying to figure out what their teenagers are interested in. Well, let me let you in on a little secret. Teenagers are interested in themselves!! There you have it. They have the same "NEED TO BE HEARD" that the rest of us long for.

Imagine for a minute that you took the time during your annual self-help push and focused your energy on listening to what makes them think they want to accomplish in the New Year. Maybe you have a son who wants to be a better soccer player. Well, if he actually mentions it at the table, it gives you some inside information on how to begin conversations in the future. Get a new soccer ball and carve out some time during the year to make sure you kick the ball with him.

Or what if you have a girl who wants to sing better? Maybe you can take that as your cue to get her some music lessons, take her to a concert she's interested in or simply plug into her music every now and then and take the time to be interested in HER goals.

It's not rocket science, but I've found more and more parents who just lost the ability to listen to what their kids are into. It's not a judgement; think of it as a commentary on our busy society today. We're so often focused on the things that make us tick, we forget about those around us.

You want to talk to your kid this year? Take some time to listen to what they want to talk about and be interested in that.

You can start the New Year off right, just taking a little time to say, "I'm interested in you!"