Mom, Please Listen
H. Brennen, 2000
Dear Sir: Yesterday I overheard a mother and her daughter in a heated
argument. The mother, constantly disrupted the child when the child tried to
state her point of view. This ugly episode ended prematurely when the mother
shouted to her daughter, "shut up, you have nothing to say, you have no
valuable opinion." It really shocked me to hear a mother say that. So I
am asking the question on her behalf: How important is it for parents to
listen to their children?
It is extremely important for
parents to listen to their children always. In a previous article, I stressed
that establishing relationships with your children is more important than making
rules. Rules are needed and are natural. However, they are empty without
meaningful relationships. Perhaps the best way of creating meaningful
relationships is to listen to your children. Listening opens doors and it shows
respect and honor.
Children appreciate an
attentive ear more than they do their parent's advice. Listening to our children
shows them we're interested in them. Research has shown that "a major
difference between strong and troubled families is the amount of interest that
family members show in each others' lives. The more interest shown, the stronger
the family generally is." Ronald Pitzer, sociologist. Listening shows that
you are interested.
I am convinced that the
reason so much teenage violence exists in our country is because parents do not
actively listen to their children. When your children know that you will always
listen to them (not necessarily agree with them) they will have a better spirit
"Listening means more
than hearing the words someone speaks. It means thinking about the things you
hear. Sometimes you listen best when you try to notice the things that are not
said. Young children cannot always say what they mean. They may not know how
to ask for the things they want. They may not know their own feelings well
enough to know what is making them angry or sad. But looking at children when
they speak can help you understand. Watch your children as they talk. What you
see can help tell you how your children feel."
STOP AND LISTEN
Parents, it is now time to stop and
listen to your children. It does not matter if they are six days old or
sixteen years old. Listen to the words they are using, the volume of the
voices, the pauses between phrases. They could be giving you messages that
their words alone canít explain. Listen to their footsteps, the taping
of the fingers on the chairs, flowing of water while they are showering.
You may discern something special about their character. Listen to their
mumblings when they are washing dishes, their disappointments over failing
grades, or sadness over lost relationships. You will open doors for
intimate sharing and closeness.
Listen to their heartbeat,
their breathing, singing, and laughter. You will experience a joy that words
cannot explain. Listen to them sleeping, waking, crying, and sighing . You will
better understand their ups and downs. Listen to their shouts and screams, their
ahs! and oos!. You may discover an easier way to help them release their
tension. Listen to their combing of the hair, ironing their skirt, and brushing
their teeth. You may discover another beauty in their character. Listen to their
praying, reading of the Bible, and sharing of ideas. You will learn about the
depth of their soul. Listen to their disagreements and agreements. You will open
the door of your heart to them. If you would only listen. Itís like magic.
Things can be better in your house if you would only LISTEN. Listen, Listen.
Mom, instead of telling your child to shut up, you shut up and LISTEN always.