How many times a day do we realize our kids just said something to us and we weren’t listening? Of course, it would be impossible to stop and listen to every single chattery thing they say. If I stopped and really listened to the stream of talk around here my ears would be exhausted and my brain would hurt.
But they do need to know that I hear them. That’s why I am careful to be aware of when they are saying something that I really need to listen to. I don’t mean whinings and arguing. I don’t listen to those. I do try to listen about hurt feelings, struggles, concerns, new ideas, things like that. This is even more important as they head into those turbulent teen years. They need to know you can do more than lecture. You can really hear them.
If you think your child is saying something that would mean a lot to them if you really listened, stop what you’re doing, turn your body toward them and be quiet. Let them tell you whatever it is they want to say, then give a short, thoughtful reply. It usually only takes a couple of minutes. They feel heard, and better than that, they know they can trust you to stop and listen when they really need it.
Look for opportunities to listen. For instance, I cut my boys’ hair. That means about once a month I am one on one with each boy for about 15 minutes. During that time I’ll ask how things are going. “How are you feeling about your math?” or “Is that scrape on your knee doing better?” I ask about little things that they may feel like I’ve forgotten about. I want them to know that I want to hear what they have to say.
Listening will tell them that you really care about the little things in their life.
And by the way…this is great in combination with Day 3: Touch.
So how is it going for you so far? Are you feeling more of a connection with your child?
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