I have a very (VERY) talkative mother. She talks about a lot of interesting topics and I love just how intellectually stimulating our conversations can be.
However, one of the drawbacks to having a talkative parent is that sometimes YOU get talked over. Well not sometimes a LOT of the time!
In the middle of detailing a new project you’re working on and BAM you’re interrupted! In the middle of detailing your latest relationship catastrophe and BAM she’s got an opinion to tell you!
You get the point – right?
Sometimes you just want someone to listen to you!
Being raised by my mom has made me particularly sensitive to the fact that I should listen to my own children.
Why is the skill of listening so important – especially to your children? What do they actually get out of you giving them your undivided attention and ears?
- LISTENING lets them know that they are important and worthy of your time. You’re a parent so you have lots of things vying for your time and energy. Kids (no matter how old they are) want to know that they are important enough for you to focus on too.
- LISTENING makes them feel heard and understood. It’s a basic human need. You simply can’t understand someone unless you close your mouth and open your ears. Most of the time kids are not looking for you to solve their problems. They are looking for someone to hear them, understand their inner most desires and needs and then respond empathetically.
- LISTENING keeps YOU, as the parent, in the loop. I don’t know about you but I want to know all about the school bully and the new boyfriends. I want to hear about what best friends do on the playground and why they stopped playing with a particular friend. The more details I know about my children’s lives the easier it is to halt potential problems and to offer sound and valuable advice when needed.
- LISTENING builds intimacy and trust. Don’t you remember those sweet moments feeding your newborn as you gazed into each other’s eyes? Those moments are how mothers and infants have bounded for millennia. As kids grow older they still need that same kind of intimacy only now most of it is in the form of conversation. Closing our mouths to hear what our kids have to say allows for truly intimate moments that will keep your relationship with your children strong for a lifetime. They also learn to trust that you will be there for them even if you can’t do anything tangible to help.
- LISTENING provides a refuge for them. I like to think of our home as a “safe place” to land for all of us. The world outside can be hard. Filled with mean comments, anxiety and stress. But home for my kids is a place where they can be themselves. They don’t have to pretend to be cool to fit in. They don’t have to hide their feelings. They know that home is a place of unconditional love and acceptance, which allows them to go out into the world as secure, confident and kind people.
So grab a coffee or tea, have a seat and put on your listening ears. Your kids will thank you for it.