Celebrating Women...for the Real World
Tuesday, June 07, 2005 We Need to LISTEN to Our Children (Remember-they pick your nursing home)

A lot of my posts regarding children deal with teenagers as my house is CRAWLING with them. This post, however, is for parents who have kids at ANY age (even grown-up ones). This post is for moms and dads, grandmothers & grandpas, aunts & uncles.

I'd like to start by sharing with parents of toddlers, it's never to early to start listening to your kids. I'm not talking about "hearing" what they are saying, I'm talking about "listening" to what they are saying. You may not think that there is a big difference between the two, but oh, yes there is. One thing that I've learned, once your kids are teenagers, you can't suddenly say "talk to me". That environment needs to be established way before puberty.

My daughter, as I mentioned in previous posts, is about to turn 15. She is a very intelligent young lady who is not afraid to tell me (or anyone for that matter) how she REALLY feels. One day she was talking about something that happened in school concerning a confrontation between her and a teacher. My daughter is NOT a trouble maker and got all E's for conduct grades. Anyway, she was going on and on about what happened and I was "hearing" what she was saying. Then she said something to the effect of "I just wanted to tell that teacher to shut up and sit down because she is just so stupid!" Stop the presses. I then played the roll of mother and said something like "you shouldn't talk that way about your teachers and I hope you didn't show her disrespect!". At this point she said "see mom, you didn't even LISTEN to me, all you're worried about it how I reacted, not what happened. I'm never going to tell you anything again!" You may be thinking that she was rude to me, but, after getting over the initial denial of what she accused me of, I started to think about what she said. You know something, she was right in a way. I was listening to her, but, at that moment, that's all she wanted me to do was listen, NOT lecture. I know that there are occasions when I've come home from work and just needed to vent. I didn't want my husband telling me I should or shouldn't have done something. I usually just want someone to listen to me and maybe give me a hug. That's what she needed. After the listening was done, at a more appropriate, less emotional time I could have shared my reminder about respect.

After our cooling off period she came to me and told me that she felt like, because of my comments, that I was on the teacher's side and not caring what she was trying to tell me. Regardless of what I thought, that's what SHE felt. So, the next time something happened, this time with her dad (that would be my ex who is an ex for a reason), I tried LISTENING. I didn't say a word. I looked at her in the eyes as she was talking, I nodded my head when appropriate, not in agreement, but more in acknowledgement, then gave her a big hug and wiped her tears when she was done. Afterwards she said to me "thanks for listening mom, I knew you'd understand". I don't think she realized that I hadn't even said a word! That day is very special to me because I think we bridged that small gap in our relationship and I might have reassured her that, no matter what, I'm always here for her!

Posted by Sheri & SuZan :: 7:45 PM :: 5 comments

Post / Read Comments