Listening to the small stuff: why it’s so important
We all want our children to be able to confide in us, to share the important things and for them to trust us enough and value our point of view enough to discuss what is troubling them, no matter their age or stage of life.
How can we expect them to do this though if we don’t listen earnestly to the small things they tell us. Sometimes, what they say, I know might not seem that important in the whole scheme of what is going on in your life that day – but it is to them.
“Mummy, mum, mama are you listening? Listen to this! Can I tell you something? I’ve got a question”.
Lots of voices all talking at once….sound familiar?
It doesn’t matter if your child has been at school all day, nursery for a few hours, playgroup, a friends house, the grandparents or just been to the toilet – you are often reunited with a barrage of questions, endless anecdotes and more questions, sometimes about the most random of things. To be honest, I think my brain works in a similar way in the middle of the night, when I’m awake thinking about things.
Lots of these things on the surface might seem like small things. Possibly irrelevant to the course of your own day. Maybe they irritate you because you don’t feel you have time to answer them or deal with multiple questions or anecdotes from all of your children, all at once.
The thing is though, these small things are important because they are important to your children. Important enough that they want to share them. With you!
As much as parents can be tempted to not focus on these exchanges, or pretend to listen even, that may be counter productive from a parenting perspective.
My view, is that if we listen earnestly to our children, if we really listen to them when they are going on and on and are full of enthusiasm, and if they feel our enthusiasm in return, they will be more likely to tell us the bigger things as they grow up. That’s my theory anyway and seeing as I don’t have a crystal ball, I’m going with it as a working method.
If we centre ourselves as parents who are worth talking to, parents who listen, parents who are interested in what their children have to say, our children are more likely to continue to confide in us as they grow up.
Children often choose the most random of times to tell us parents things, and they won’t always be moments that we find especially convenient, but try to roll with it next time and see what happens – you find out all sorts of interesting things you might never have known otherwise.