Mom, Please Listen to Me
“I hear what you’re saying, and the answer is no.”
“Don’t tell me, I know what you’re going to say.”
“I don’t care what the circumstances are, you’re not going.”
Do any of these statements sound familiar? What do they have in common? They’re usually said to our kids with steam billowing from our nostrils and eyes glaring like laser beams. Exasperation, frustration, and anger erupt and communication comes to a screeching halt.
Too late we realize we’ve once again responded without a moment’s reflection on the emotions, needs, and longings behind our child’s words.
What follows? Silence. Short, clipped sentences. And a sickening feeling of alienation and hopelessness.
Do you identify? I do.
My kids were raised by an imperfect Mom. They wanted freedom, I wanted control. They were driven by a God-given instinct to develop and break free. I was driven by fears of “What if….”
What do I wish I had known when my kids were at home?
- Rather than arguing, giving orders, or refusing to listen, try to hear beneath the surface.
- Look for what’s not being said. What feelings lie behind their words and body language?
- Don’t debate their opinions. Without interrogating, ask how and why they came to them. Show respect for their ideas even if you don’t share them.
- Check out signs of anger. If they seem angry, ask why.
- Be willing to ask, “How have I hurt you?” And willing to apologize and listen.
Adapted from I’m Too Young to Be This Old, (These Children Are Too Old to Be Mine)