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Newsflash:
Thursday, 22 March 2001

I Know You Can Hear Me, But Are You Listening?

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From a WholeFamily User

Dear Jenny,

As a child I remember the conversations I would have with my mother. She would hear me, but not really be listening. I used to say that when I grew up I would never be like that - I would always listen to my children.

Now I'm a mother of two and I often catch myself doing the same thing to my own children. And I now understand my mother.

Have you ever missed what someone was saying because you were thinking about the next clever thing you were going to say?

It's something people often do when arguing and often why the argument goes on and on. Nobody is listening to the other!

I'm not saying that we as parents are sitting around thinking about the next clever thing to say to our children. What we are thinking about is the next activity to take place in the day or the next decision that has to be made. We are constantly organizing our life and the lives of those whom we are responsible for.

Even what you are going to have for dinner is a decision that has to be made. There is so much to think about when you are a parent, so many worries and responsibilities, that it becomes more and more difficult to turn off that constant chatter in the back of our minds.

I know this doesn't help, but just so you know it's not just our children we often don't listen to, it's other adults as well. I think that's why there is so much misunderstanding in the world.

If you tell your mother that you understand she has a lot of important things on her mind, but you need to talk to her about something that is important to you and you need her to really be listening, I bet it would be enough to pull her attention to the surface. Get her attention first -- then talk. Often because of the constant chatter in the back of our minds we don't see the difference between what's important and what is just light conversation.

We need to be told-this is important please listen up.

My son often makes me look at him before he starts talking, so that he knows I'm really listening. He will say "mom" continually until it annoys me so much that I stop what I'm doing and finally look at him. If I look away, he will start saying "mom" over and over again until I pay attention.

He was only in the first grade when he discovered that mom didn't always listen and this has been a tactic he has used ever since to get my attention. Sometimes I stop and yell at him, and then he says "Mom this is important." When I see his face I know I have to listen.

Good luck.

S. E.

Last modified on Sunday, 30 October 2011 12:39
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