Are you an attentive listener? Do you really listen to your children when they talk to you or do you half way listen? Sometimes I think we, as adults, are so preoccupied with one million things going through our minds, that we don’t hear at all what our children are saying to us.
Years ago, I read the book How to Really Love Your Child by Ross Campbell. The main thing I remember from the book was this — when you are talking to your child or listening to them, you should look them in the eye. This is something that so many parents do not do. If you look them in the eye, it’s hard to not listen to them.
How many times do we talk at our kids without listening to what they have to say? They do have something to say, you know. When you look them in the eye, it shows that they have your full attention and it shows that you care.
Maybe they have a question that they want you to answer. Maybe they just want to tell you about a dream they had or a book they read. Maybe they want to tell you a joke or a riddle. Maybe they want you to watch, really watch them do a magic trick.
If we want our children to show us respect, then we have to show them respect. One of the biggest ways you can show someone respect is by simply listening to them when they talk. So if we listen to our kids, then hopefully they will listen to us and show us respect.
Being a good listener is something that many people struggle with. They can talk, talk, talk all day about themselves but it takes real effort to listen to another person – especially a child.
Are you always on the phone talking to your friends? Are there constant distractions in your home, like television and computers, so that your children don’t feel like they can approach you? I think we need to strive for more quiet time in our days so that our children will feel like we are approachable and willing to listen to them.
In order to be a good listener, you cannot be selfish. You have to put yourself aside and focus on the other person. Put yourself in your child’s shoes and view the world from their perspective. Children don’t live in our adult world, with all of its frustrations, responsibilities and worries. They are just looking at Mama and hoping she will listen to them for one moment. You are the most important person in your child’s life. They just need your time, attention, and a listening ear. And they do know when you’re really listening and when you’re not.
Are we too busy to listen to our children? They grow up so fast. Then they are gone. We only have one chance to be a good parent. There is no rewind button. What’s done is done, so we need to make every moment count. I want to be remembered as an attentive listener. Do you? Take the time to genuinely listen to your children, not just today, but every day. You’ll be so glad you did.
“Deep listening is miraculous for both listener and speaker. When someone receives us with open-hearted, non-judging, intensely interested listening, our spirits expand.” – Sue Patton Thoele
“We were given two ears but only one mouth. This is because God knew that listening was twice as hard as talking.” – Unknown