Do not listen with the intent to reply, but with the intent to understand.
I must admit that on several occasions, I have felt that my children just don’t listen to me, and I am sure I am not the only parent who feels that way right?
In my journey of parenting, I have asked myself how come my children don’t listen and I came up with several well-founded conclusions.
- My mood was not the best when I spoke to them
- I was probably on my phone when they were talking to me.
- I was not giving them eye contact.
- I blatantly refused to listen to them ( They ask a question and before they finish I say “NO” )
- I did not follow through the promises I made.
- I did not communicate my boundaries.
- I did not plan with them in mind or ask them what they wanted.
- I didn’t consider their love languages.
- The environment was not set to meet the objective of the conversation.
- I asked the normal questions that get one-worded answers – “How are you? Fine.“
- I had quite a number of things that I cannot exhaust here.
I draw teachings from books and movies engage and I suggest you watch “Imagine That” – In the movie, Eddie Murphy tells his daughter – You don’t listen to me, and the young girl in a very exhausted facial expression says “Dad, I listen” that went straight to my heart. I remembered my daughter telling me “Mum you are not letting me talk.” In frustration, she walked away from me.
I am giving my story because I have gone through this, I, however, want you to think about your environment and how conversations happen.
Think about the conversations you have with your spouse, friends, neighbors oh and even on social media. Think about the exchange of words.
Do you achieve what is intended? What is the objective of the conversations you have? (Food for thought)
When it comes to children, how can we get them to listen? Put down some guidelines to conversations, simple things if people are talking respect them or say, I would like to speak to you.
1. Put your phone down (it goes without saying)
2. Use an indoor voice.
3. Give eye contact.
4. For deep conversations, set the mood and environment. (go for a walk if you must)
5. Parents, avoid embarrassing your children in front of their friends. Take the conversations in the house or get them away from the crowd.
6. Learn your children’s love languages and use those to speak to their beings. (Quality Time, Words Of Affirmation, Touch, Gifts)
7. In the case of spouses, mind the language you use, facial expressions and sneers.
8. Set very clear boundaries, if you are tired, please ask your children to allow you to rest so that you can have a sober discussion.
9. Seek to instill family values in each opportunity you get.
10. Use Roses, Thorns, and Bud’s design thinking activity.
It is the desire of every parent to have a smooth parenting journey. I encourage each parent not to beat themselves up – You are doing an amazing job. You are learning on the job like all of us, there is NO manual (Oh how I wish there was a reset button though). Parenting is amazing, we create memories, laughs, gags, deeper friendships and relationships as we grow.
Today, seek to re-evaluate your communication strategy and when you hurt your children – seek forgiveness just as you would like them to seek your forgiveness when they are wrong.
“While we try and teach our children about life, they teach us what life is all about”.
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