How well do I listen to my kids?

posted in: Communication, Parenting | 3
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Do I listen to my kids?

By asking this question I’m not asking myself if I listen to them for the answers to the questions that I ask, although I certainly do listen at those times when I do ask a question, but rather, do I listen to the things which they desire to express?

Do I really listen? Do I sit and give my 100% attention? Or do I buzz around doing this or that and “caually” listen.

I will say that I personally am not the best listener in the world (but I am certainly not the worst!). Or maybe since I’m not sure who holds the title of the best or worst it’s hard to compare to an incomparable.

But I’ve asked myself this question and have looked at how I have tendency to get busy going about my own agenda while “casually” listening to what my child is saying. And I know I’m not alone in having that tendency. Maybe I’m legitimately busy at times (and maybe you are too). Maybe I’m running on a tight schedule sometimes (and so are you right?).

As I’ve asked myself this question I’ve learned something and quite frankly, it’s not rocket science. I’ve learned that I should ask myself that if someone was listening to me as “casually” as I did at times, How would I feel?… Would I feel respected? Would I feel valued? Would I feel loved?

At times the answer was no. And I’m not talking about ignoring the other person, I’m talking about listening while kind of glancing at something else that I had in mind (innocently enough). I’m pretty sure that some of you have done this as well. Wrapped up in work? Bills? Finances? Relationship problems? etc, etc, etc…

Children can pick up if you’re really giving them your attention or if you’re eyes or mind are somewhere else.

I then instantly began asking questions about how this might affect my child. How does this build confidence? How does this help their communication skills? How does this communicate love? What kind of example is this in their future developement?

As you may have guessed, I try to give my child my full attention whenever I can. Sometimes, I can’t and it’s legit. It’s obvious that sometimes there is a strict timeline where we have to get ready and go..etc. But, wherever possible I try to give my full attention.

When my child speaks, it’s my responsibility to listen. And by giving my full attention, listening and asking questions making conversation about what is being shared I see fulfillment in those eyes. Confidence, comfort, satisfaction, self-worth.

Sometimes it also means that I need to recognize when “my schedule” that I’m trying to keep is really necessary or just keeping “my schedule”. Love can’t be confined to a box. Nor can it be restricted to a strict timeline. Sometimes, flexibility is needed in order to give this 100% attention in listening and also in the chance that I’m asked to stay somewhere to see something that my child really wants to see for an extra 10 minutes or so.

Life happens at a pace much different then what I would choose it to be. Life happens with or without me. I’d rather “go with the flow” and not “fight the current” and seize the opportunities when they appear.

If time permits me to give that 10 minutes to stay and see something or do something… .maybe it’s Christmas lights (I’m writing this and it’s close to december after all… a fair example isn’t it??), maybe it’s 10 minutes at the park or the beach… maybe it’s 10 minutes in a book….. maybe it’s just a 10 minute talk about something….

Those eyes seem to show confidence, comfort, satisfaction, self-worth….

So after saying all this. Basically what I’m getting at is I ask myself this question. How would I feel if I was my child? Children are little people and though sometimes they can’t express things as we do they often perceive things we often do not give them credit for.

Self awareness is not only a gift for me, but a gift for my child. And if I’d like to see certain traits in my child…. then I have to live them too. If I want my child to be honest, then I should be held to my own standard as the example.

So in wrapping this little blog article up, I believe there is a lifetime of learning to be done. Parenting is one of the greatest things I’ve been blessed with in my life. And of the most important. These are little people with sharp minds in development and are the adults of the future that we are to teach and care for.

How would I like to see my child as an adult (not materially, but their character)? How am I helping my child grow towards that?


  • Paula

    Wow Yves, great article. I sometimes ask myself that, especially when I lay in bed trying to get my mind to slow down enough to fall asleep…. when I think about how many times Jacob said “‘Garde Mam! ‘Garde cecette!” (“Look Mommy, Look at this!” for your English readers)… I feel this immediate guilt about how I was “too busy, I’ve got to get these dishes done”, “too busy, I’m making lunches”, “too busy, I’ve got to go to a meeting”. Sometimes it doesn’t even take the 10 minutes you mention… 30 seconds for goodness sakes and sometimes we’re too busy for even that. Craziness. Seems like our life is so filled with “busy-ness” that we don’t have time for each other anymore, and that’s just not right. So me too, I want to try to ask myself these questions more often, and not only when I lie awake, trying to wrap my head around my day. Time slips away from us so fast, who wants to be filled with regret that we didn’t do something better with it???

    • Thank you very much for the comments Paula!

      Yes absolutely. Our lives just seem to be filled with so much “busy-ness” that is does take away from our time with the people we love.

      Time slips away so fast… even as I write this I can’t believe it’s wednesday tomorrow and half the week is gone. It just flies.

      When I was self-employed I felt like a chicken with it’s head cut off….. always tons to do and worked up to 16 hours in a day. I told myself after a few years of that and then working a day job and a part time job, that I would begin to live and try to prioritize my time around my daughter.

      Sometimes, I find it really hard to do and I’m obviously not perfect at it. But it’s something that I try… try to think about… try to be aware of and even writing about it like this makes me think about it more and helps me be more aware.

      It would be terrible to be filled with regret. Especially with kids.

      Glad you enjoyed my “scribbles” Paula!

  • Kimberly Walsh

    Amen to that. We are not perfect and there is always room to grow as individuals. Our souls depend on it. Me for instance, I work from home and find myself being pulled away from my computer-by my two year old daughter. There are times when I tell her that “I’m busy”. Clearly, I make this excuse to her often enough that one morning, she is unresponsive to me and I ask her to come potty or eat her breakfast (I don’t remember which) and what does she reply with? That’s right, “Mommy, I’m busy”. Food for thought, self awareness of behaviors that affect my child’s happiness and the love we both receive in doing so.