Monday, November 12, 2012

Day 1134 - Listen to your kids

We want our kids to talk, but do we really listen?

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I am really bad right now at listening to Darby. He is so excited about Halo 4 and everything it involves that it is all he can talk about.  But the moment he starts his monologue my eyes glaze over and my ears shut down as I think about other things (usually associated with my to-do list).   I'm just not listening.  So what is that doing to him?

Of course I know that listening to your kids is important.  And of course I want my kids to talk to me forever. So I usually try to make eye contact when they speak, and I usually make the appropriate noises to show that I am listening.  But ("but" is such a cop-out word*) lately I have been making less eye contact, making more grunting sounds and less "I hear you" noises, and my mind has been wandering off in the opposite direction to my kids stories.

I know that listening to your kids boosts their self esteem.  It's a fact.  I also know that listening to your kids when they are young and actively engaging them in conversation about their lives creates greater openness and trust when they are teens.  That's why we have always had our "what's happened in your world today" conversations at dinner.  No judgement, no opinions, just listening.

But (there is that awful word again*) recently I've been so caught up in Cheer Chick Charlie, and Derek has been so caught up in keeping his head above water in his workplace, that the conversations are getting fewer as active listening requires too much effort effort.

This week everything is going to change.  This week I AM GOING TO LISTEN TO MY CHILDREN.  This week I am going back to caring about their lives and their days and their friends and their achievements in Halo 4.  It is the first dot point on my to-do list and I will turn it into a ta-dah.

My kids deserve it.

* The word "but" is one that allows for excuses. It's a word that cancels out everything before it. The word "but" is a bullshit word which I use far too much.  This week I am also going to make my space a but-free zone. 


  1. Too true! I've been guilty of getting caught up in my "adult" stresses and not paying as much attention to listening to my kids as I should. Today I decided I/we needed to change. It turns out that my eldest son has a whole set of his own stresses. His bad behaviour has not just been a stage but him acting out, a call for help. Listening to my kids is now the first dot point on my to-do list too!

  2. This is so important. I think of the Catherine Wallace quote on a daily basis, no exaggeration, because my four year old just talks and talks and talks and I'm a very impatient person, but I'm afraid that if I muzzle his voice now then he'll give up. So I sit there and smile and nod while he spends 10 minutes explaining the step by step process of his last trip to the toilet. He doesn't like interruptions you see, so we can only smile and nod.
    Great post xx


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