Learning to listen to your children is one of the most important things you can do to strengthen your relationship. Your children need you, no matter their age, and will continue to need you even as they reach adulthood and begin their own families. One of the ways you can be there for them is to listen to them. Truly listen.
This is difficult, I know. There are a lot of people and activities competing for our time that create a number of hindrances to really listening. Here are a few I’ve noticed in my own life:
- Busyness – Life is just busy! Sometimes I’ve had a project with a deadline I’ve had to complete, and other times I’ve been in the midst of helping another child. The lesson I’ve learned here is that unless it’s a moment where my child is hurting and is in need of immediate attention, they respond fine if I just let them know that I’m busy at the moment but would love to chat with them in xx minutes when I’m finished. Then I make certain I follow up with them and give them my full attention at that time.
- Location – Why do children seem to ask life’s biggest questions when standing in line at McDonald’s? It’s one of life’s great mysteries. When I’m able to answer a question or have that significant conversation once we sit down or can have a few moments of privacy, I do. However, if that’s just not possible given the location or circumstance, I let them know that home is the appropriate place for that discussion, and I make certain to follow up with them and continue that discussion, or answer that question, once we are home.
Stayed tuned as I discuss ways to handle the hindrances of finding enough time and removing distractions. And please let me know what hindrances you’ve encountered, and how you’ve overcome them, in the comments.