Posts tagged listening
Posts tagged listening
When Amy was small, she frequently lied to me, which was upsetting and left me bewildered. Then, after spending a weekend with our family, a friend commented as she was leaving, “Paul, I think Amy is scared of you.” Wow. That thought had never crossed my mind, but upon reflection, I could understand it.
So, I did a number of things:
Interestingly, the lying disappeared. Amy was simply reacting to a Dad who was scary at times. Stop being scary, the lying disappears.
Linguistics scholar Deborah Tannen says that you are either creating relationship or controlling someone with how you are in a conversation. Now, I agree that this is a simplistic, either/or, way of looking at conversations. Yet sometimes the simple ideas are the most profound.
Here are some other quick ways of assessing your conversations:
Think back on this week’s conversations with your kids. What were you creating with what you said? How did your words or tone affect how your child might respond?
Remember—you matter to your kids, and therefore what you say has an impact on them. If you remember this, you’ll be more aware of what you say and how you say it.
One last thought: Maybe it’s all reaction—and if we change how we approach our kids, they will react to us in a different way.
Thanks for reading. I hope these periodic blogs are keeping the ideas in the book alive for you.
In the book, we make the connection between listening to your kids when they are small so they have the opportunity to develop their speaking skills, as well as to create space within which your relationship can grow as your children grow to adulthood.
I received this email from a mother sharing another reason to find time to listen to each of your children for at least 15 minutes each evening:
Hello. I’ve enjoyed reading your book and am now sharing it with my husband.
I have really focused on how I am building relationships with my family, particularly my children. As a mother of three, I often find it difficult to give each child the attention I know they deserve. Also, with three boys aged 7, 5, and 2, sometimes it is all I can do to get dinner on the table and homework done!
Your words ring in my head almost daily…”Treat each moment like it’s the most important…” Much easier said than done, and when I am thinking about it is usually when I am finding it impossible! :-)
I am often trying to manage the needs of all three while doing something else. I have been making an effort to give each child some undivided attention each day. It is really amazing what they will say when you just give them a chance!
With the boys the ages they are, I have an opportunity RIGHT NOW to show them that I will listen to them when they come to me. Building that relationship now is so important to me, so that they will feel they can come to me later in life.
So, take even just 10 minutes right now and give your child your full attention…. I’d love to hear what learn! Add a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your discoveries, questions, suggestions.
“When your intention is to give your whole attention to your infant, your toddler, your preschooler, and so on, all the way through to adulthood, you create space within which your relationship can grow.” — from page 73 of Ten Powerful Things to Say to Your Kids
Small children are learning machines. They are wonderful mimics, noticing and trying everything. They also practice until they get something. Give them language like open and closed or up and down and watch them apply it with everything they can reach.
Small children are not only watching, they love to be included—but then, don’t we all?
Recently, my daughter-in-law, Ranee, picked me up at my hotel. Abigail, who is two, and Caroline, who is four, were in their car seats in the back. Just as I got in, this conversation occurred:
Abigail: “Baby want five.”
Me: “Five what, Abigail?”
Caroline, my interpreter, said, “Grandpa Paul, Abigail wants a high five!”
Ranee then explained that the previous evening, Abigail had been disappointed when I reached in and gave Caroline a high five handshake but did not do so for Abigail.
One more reminder for me to slow down, pay attention, and notice who might like to be included—even if they are only two!
“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” —Robert Fulghum, American author
“One of the things you talk about in Ten Powerful Things to Say to Your Kids really stuck with me: being a good listener. I’m working on improving my listening skills—life just gets so much more interesting when you focus and pay very close attention to what people are saying. When they know you are actually listening to them, they light up and become more alive. Being a good listener is an incredible gift we can all bring to the world.
“I play old time string band music (fiddle and banjo), and I learn all my tunes by ear. And in the jams, people are always playing ‘new’ tunes that we have to listen to to be able to play them. But also, in a jam, I try to make eye contact with each player around the circle and listen closely to the sound coming from their instruments. When players notice that I’m paying attention to them, they always smile and lean into their instruments, letting their joyful soul flow through it. It’s all magic that comes from loving attention.”
- John L., Oregon