Why It’s So Important to Listen to Your Children

BY: - 29 Jan '13 | Parenting

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“Listen earnestly to anything [your children] want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.”

~Catherine Wallace

I saw this quote on Pinterest a few days ago and later on Facebook. There hasn’t been a day that has gone by that I haven’t thought about this. I’m a busy mom of three and countless times I find myself saying, “Not now!” “I don’t have time!”, etc. I don’t mean to put them off — I swear I don’t. As a parent, I am always thinking ten steps ahead of the present time. It’s a shame, but this is my train of thought, especially during a busy weeknight. I’m thinking, “Son/daughter, please go get in the shower, so that you can have a good night’s sleep…so that you can be alert in class….so that you will have a better chance at doing well in school….so that you can get in the best schools…to have a successful career…and then later be able to live the American Dream. This seems so much more important at the time than listening to you talk about someone laughing so hard that milk came out of there nose in the cafeteria!!”

Nowadays, our kids have the world at their fingertips. From the internet to smartphones, all it takes is the click of a mouse and they can be exposed to only God knows what. It takes more than just parental controls. It takes true parental involvement. We have to do more listening and a lot less talking.  If we don’t listen to them, we won’t know what they’re thinking. If we don’t know what they’re thinking, we won’t know what they are capable of. If we don’t know what they’re capable of, then who are we raising? Or better yet, who is raising our children? Facebook? Twitter? Their peers? It’s a scary thought. Wouldn’t you agree?

I remember, when I was a little girl, being “put off.” It wasn’t good. Wasn’t good at all, and the fact that I remember it probably means that I was hurt by it. Maybe…just maybe the fact that I am mentioning it now, means that I still am. Some people might say, “Hey, that’s life! Get over it!” Yeah, but life as a child is short and rough as it is. It’s our jobs as parents to make it easier. We have to make sure that our children feel loved, secure, protected AND IMPORTANT. So, here’s the deal. I will make this promise to my little people (and I hope that you will do the same thing):

I promise to listen to you talk about things like, “Mommy! Amelia uses potty words like butt and stupid.” I will be attentive and not roll my eyes behind your back as you talk endlessly about your video games. I will even stop what I’m doing most times and give you eye contact. After all, that is exactly what I ask of you, isn’t it?

I hope, now that you’ve read this, that we all can be a little more attentive until it becomes a habit. Lord knows, we, as parents don’t want the pain of hearing, “But you never listened to me.” That would hurt and I don’t think they make Band-aids that big.

BMWK — Do you take the time to really listen to what your children are saying? How do you show them that their voice matters and is heard?


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  • Anzala

    I soooo relate to this…always ten steps ahead and busy but sometimes missing that special moment where my child is sharing information that is really important to them, even if random to me. Thanks for the reminder to stop & make time to be totally engaged in their world. It’s a great invitation that I don’t want to take for granted!

  • Loretta

    Thank you for sharing this. As I was reading I saw myself w/my two sons (6 &16) &thr rolling of my eyes thinking, “I don’t care & I have things to do” while they aren’t looking, GUILTY! I often feel like I don’t have enough time to stop anything completely & devote more than 3mins of listening at a time… However, I need my sons to feel as important as I know they are to me & so I will make adjustments to do better… Your so right when you speak of childhood being short lived! I love this page, I share it OFTEN & read it everyday! I’m actually reading & responding frommy phone on lunch;) I appreciate new thoughts being introduced & or provoked… THANK YOU ;~)

  • Laquita

    Thanks for posting this. Sometimes I do that to my kids and tell them to be quiet and go to their rooms or telling my oldest daughter that I don’t care about what she’s talking about because its nothing but drama. I’m going to stop that and sit and pay attention to what they are telling me. It’s obviously important to them if they feel the need to talk about it with me. So I will make it a priority from here on out to stop and really listen!

  • Janet Dubac

    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful reminder!
    As a parent myself, I know it can be difficult to juggle all the responsibilities of parenthood. But indeed, we should not neglect the simple parenting duty of listening to our kids.

  • Christi

    My son is a BIG talker, but I will remember to be attentive and patient because after all, these are the best days of my life, right?

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