Listen With Your Heart
Posted on December 05, 2013 by Nola Peacock, One of Thousands of Family Coaches on Noomii.
After my daughter, Sabrina’s death, one of the things I found most difficult was people’s comments to me. I know that my friends and family had my bes
After my daughter, Sabrina’s death, one of the things I found most difficult was people’s comments to me. I know that my friends and family had my best interest at heart. They would try to make me feel better, yet often, it made things worse. Comments like “you can always have another baby” or “good thing you didn’t get to know her” did NOT make me feel better. What I truly wanted was for my feelings to be acknowledged. I wanted to hear that they knew it was a difficult thing to deal with.
This is true for our children. They want to be heard. They want their feelings acknowledged. As parents, we want to protect our children. We want to “fix” things for them. Sometimes, by trying to be protective, we wind up hurting our kids. Do you ever hear yourself say things like “oh, that doesn’t hurt” or “brush it off, you’re ok”? I know we say these things with the best intentions, yet, by NOT acknowledging how they feel, it makes things worse for them. It makes them doubt what they are feeling and they learn to shut down.
Instead of brushing them off, take time to listen to your child. I mean REALLY listen. Pay attention to their body language and to your intuition. Keep quiet. You may need to pretend that you have duck tape over your mouth so that you can keep yourself from jumping in with solutions. When you keep quiet, your child will have the opportunity to share more with you. Silence is ok. Sometimes your child needs a few minutes to just sit with their emotion. Given time, they usually have a lot to tell you.
Once your child has had a chance to share their thoughts and feelings with you, make sure you acknowledge their feelings. If they just scraped their knee, acknowledge that it hurts. Let them know it’s okay to be sad or angry. Then, help them move through their feelings. If they are feeling angry, you could try having them punch a pillow or draw an “angry” picture and then let them tear it up. If your child is sad, sit with them, hug them, let them know you love them. Don’t just try to immediately cheer them up. Don’t be afraid of their emotions. If we allow our children to express their emotions and we accept and acknowledge their emotions without judgement, they will continue to be open and honest with us. By doing this when they are young, they will come to us for support and guidance as the become teens and beyond. Isn’t this what you really want?
So…this week, set aside time to REALLY LISTEN to your child. Don’t interrupt. Don’t jump in with solutions. Don’t try to make it all better. When your child is given a chance, he/she can be pretty creative with solutions.Try it and see.
Feel free to let me know how it goes!
Enjoy your day!