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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