My son was in the car, he was talking about a game he was playing perhaps. I said, “oh yeah, that’s cool”. His tone, then changed, and he replied, “you’re not listening”. It was then that I realized something…
I tend to unselfconsciously answer my son when he talks to me or gets excited about his game or something happening in school with dull responses such as, “oh yeah?”, “cool”, “awesome”, or “oh man, that’s not good”. I have accustomed myself to the sounds of his tone and instinctively identify his expressions and emotions where I can automatically respond correctly without even knowing what the story is. At first, I thought this was a neat trait to learn, as sometimes we really don’t need to learn the information, but we do need to acknowledge their existence and that they are speaking to us. I thought this was effective, but as he’s gotten older and he’s starting to deal with real struggles in school already, I need to really listen. I haven’t always been honest with my feedback emotions. The reality is, he takes the time to passionately engage with me and express his passions, so I need to passionately engage & answer him back. Personally, I have the wonderful combination of having ADD (ADHD), OCD, anxiety & I’m enrolled in the hard knocks of single motherhood, so my head fills up with a hundred different things at the same time that I tend to miss the sweet little moments happening at that present time.
These are crucial whether we realize it or not. If it’s important to the child, then it should always be important to us. I’m not always insensitive to his speeches, sometimes I stop myself and realize that he thoroughly needs that attention and to be heard. My issue now is that it needs to occur more often, and by more often, I mean all of the time. I want to develop that relationship with him, so he knows that he can always come to me for anything with real genuine reactions, whether it’s now with school or later in life with real adult life issues. I don’t want him to develop this fear of not being able to talk to me.
Even when I discipline him, I make sure he knows it was out of love. We always discuss the correct things to do afterwards, so not only will he hopefully learn from his mistakes, but also after all has happened, I will always forgive him & I’ll always communicate compassionately.
Therefore, your words and your non-words do make an impact. Your honesty and your emotions behind your words also make an impact. If your child is talking your ear off, talk their ear off back. When disciplining your child, don’t give them the silent treatment, it will direct them away to not speak to you about anything – monkey see, monkey do. When they do wrong, you want to know about that, you want them to take your wise advice over their friends or peers. So, when lecturing, it needs to come with love and compassion as well, or they will just stop listening altogether just as well as you did to them…

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Written by J. Marie

Founder/Owner, Perfectly Imperfect Parents - Single Mom . Blogger . Photographer . Bar Marketing Manager and Bartender . Artist of Frame Design . Part-Time Student to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor.

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