May 10th, 2012 | Posted in Featured

Listening and parenting: an interesting combination.

We, of course, want our children to listen to us. We are older, wiser, and let’s face it — in control.  However, true interaction, whether between two adults or adults and children, relies on our ability to listen to each other, our ability to really “hear” what the other is saying and to respond with a thoughtful answer or comment.

Communication between parent and child is so often question and answer but very little discussion. The question and answer type of interaction is a closed interaction.  One states a question and the other gives an answer.  At that point, the interaction is usually over.  Trying to interact with our child using open ended “starters” leaves the conversation wide open; the child has the opportunity to share some pretty amazing thoughts and feelings. Open ended starters begin with “I wonder…” Did you ever think…?” “What an amazing day…” Sharing what we did during the day, what we thought about, how we felt gives the child time to think and relate us; it doesn’t put them on the spot to answer.

An open-ended starter might sound like this: ‘I just love those flowers. The purple is so beautiful.”  Wait. Then wait more. I just bet your child will respond.  Another starter might be, “look at that amazing car! I wonder what it would be like to drive?”  Wait wait wait.  This way of interacting is not magic, but it works.  Give it time and the pay-off will be huge.

So on this Mother’s Day enjoy your child and listen – really listen.  Listening to one another is a gift to our children and to ourselves.

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