Little Lessons: Parents need to be good listeners

I came across this quote recently:

“We often think that if we are able to successfully express our thoughts and feelings to another person, we are good communicators. We think that if we talk to our children about God’s righteous ways, we are teaching them and reaching them through communication. However, truly beneficial communication is based not only on the ability to talk, but also on the ability to listen.”  

Me? Guilty.

Guilty of trying to talk TO my child, instead of talking WITH.

Guilty of being too fast to speak and too slow to listen.

Guilty of thinking I know it all. So I don’t have to listen.

I even get smug after speaking my peace, but if you actually dig deeper beyond the surface, the true heart-to-heart connection is missing.

One day, Vera was being a little uncooperative while getting ready for school.

Without talking to her first and understanding the reasons behind her behaviour, I jumped to the conclusion that she was just being difficult. I slipped into my chiding tone of voice and then a few seconds later caught myself and tried to change tack. It was too late. She already clammed up and just refused to share what was in her little mind. So I gave up, and asked daddy to take over.

When daddy went to talk to her, she told him after a few minutes that she didn’t want to go to school because “teacher keep asking me to write small letters.”

Turns out she was a little put off because she felt she wasn’t good at it. (She’s used to practising block letters at home, and we have not spent much time on writing small letters.)

When I found out from daddy later, I was both relieved and ashamed. Relieved that this was something we could deal with together, now that we know what’s going on. Ashamed because I had jumped to my own conclusion that she was just being unreasonable…

Sometimes I slip into this I’m-your-mum-so-I-know-it-all mode. But what a lesson I received in the importance of loving and listening.

I’m determined to listen more, encourage them to share their feelings more, and assume less. Will you join me too?

art of listening

This is the third post of the Little Lessons series – because as parents we are constantly growing and learning along with our kids. If you want to follow the entire series, you’ll find each new post listed here every week.

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    • mamawearpapashirt says

      Hey San, yea there’s always a reason behind their little actions, even boredom could be a trigger…so it getting attention from mummy/papa…I know it’s sooo tough just trying to get our heads around what’s going on, but it’s possible to keep getting better at this, with practice and patience!!

  1. says

    That phrase “slipped into my chiding tone…” really hit me. It’s such an apt description for what I catch myself doing too at times… so easy to just hurry the little ones along to keep things on schedule and on track. Thanks for this reminder to just pause to listen.
    Serenely recently posted..An impossible cakeMy Profile

    • mamawearpapashirt says

      Hey Serene, it’s an uphill struggle for me too, a habit we all need to nip in the bud. Like you say, I too find it harder when we’re rushing for something or just don’t have the energy to focus. I wish I had a mental jolt everytime I need to press the pause button!

  2. says

    Earlier this year, my boys always cried each time my hubby and I sent them to Sunday school. It was a stressful period for everyone.

    I constantly asked God to reveal to me why my boys behaved that way when they were ok to go to child care.

    I chatted with my older boy on a weekend recently. I casually asked him whether he has friends in Sun school. He shook his head and said in a matter of fact tone, “No. I don’t have any friends in Sun school”. I then realised that could be the reason they refused to go to Sun school. They felt lonely. The truth hurts me and all I could think of is just continue to bring the boys and they will get used to the sun school. I realised that I could’ve done my job better.

    Your post is a beautiful reminder to listen to my boys a little more. There is always a reason behind their behaviour.

    • mamawearpapashirt says

      Hi pr, thanks for sharing what you’ve learnt from listening to their hearts…We’re always learning something new, isn’t it? 🙂

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