Opportunities to listen to what your child has to say

For a while now my 4 year old son were telling me that he is not enjoying one of the activities we signed him up for at school. I heard him say this, but didn’t think much of it since his friend who used to do this with him left and I thought he just needed some time to get used to doing this without this specific friend.

When I recently stopped with everything that keeps me so busy and took the time to really listen why he wasn’t enjoying the activity anymore, I was surprised to find out what the real reason was. They played a game where the children had to chase each other to get a feel for how the sport is played and I know that he is for some reason terrified of being chased.

I told him that he didn’t have to take part in that specific game, but could see that he was still reluctant and eventually said that we could stop the specific extra-mural. The change and relieve I saw in him after this made me realise how very true and severe this problem was in his life. I nearly cried when I realised I heard him tell me something, but I wasn’t listening at all! What else am I missing?

Our everyday lives might be busy, but there are some golden opportunities that we can use to really listen to our children:

  1. In the car, driving to school or to extra murals. We often race from one place to the next feeling stressed. Relax and use this time to chat and listen to your children. Especially teenagers are sometimes more comfortable to discuss issues when they don’t have to make direct eye contact.
  2. When preparing dinner. Cook together or let them sit with you while you are busy.
  3. Take them something to drink when they take a study break and sit with them for a few minutes without doing anything else.
  4. Walk the dogs together.

You might also want to read more about the Active Listening Tips for Parents that we have.