The most common frustration I hear from parents and caregivers is “They won’t listen!”
I feel you!!
It can be so hard to listen when what comes out of their mouth feels hurtful and hits us at the very core of our insecurity as parents.
May I share an out-of-the-box thought? What if they will be more prone to listen to you, if they feel heard?
Listening involves calming your activated nervous system, and being present to listen with your heart. No easy task. But they're skills that can be improved and practiced!
Here's a Quick Tip for a Quick Win with your parenting...
>>To improve communication -- Talk Less. Listen More<<
The other day, my 20 year old son called and talked to me for 45 minutes about all the things going on for him. I listened with an occasional "hmm" or "oh". At the end of the call, he said, "Great conversation, Mom!" I used to get a pit in my stomach when my son would call or text, expressing that he was having a hard time or feeling sad. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to “help” him. As I continue to practice the validation and anchoring skills I’m learning from Kathy, I’m realizing that the less I talk the better it is! Now I notice that I feel more ease in my interactions with him, however he feels. I have energy left afterwards and no more pit in my stomach! (Angela, mom of three)
It’s our job to take care of our child. More than anything, we want them to be happy!And when they're unhappy or distressed we want to DO something to help.
Where it can get tricky is when our desire for them to be happy compels us to think we have to fix their problems, or even fix their feelings. That’s the beauty and the heartbreak of really listening. Their feelings are hard for us to take!
When you find yourself reacting to what your child is saying to you, ask yourself a different question, “where am I standing in relation to my child?”
In other words:
Am I standing behind them as in their resource, their scaffolding, their anchor.
Or am I jumping into the boat with them and leaning on them to take care of my feelings?
When we stand on our own solid ground behind them, we can be more fully present, like Angela in the story above. We also have more access to our best parenting choices.
Here's the thing. Listening and validating IS doing something. And that something creates an invitation to talk to us - the loving connection our heart desires.
(Click the image below for more about being the anchor.)