listening work

As it is Wednesday, I thought I would post on communication. What has been on my mind lately is listening and more specifically our inability to listen to others. We are so busy trying to tell people what we think.

With my husband we try to remember when one of us have launched into a “can you believe what I endured today” story that the other person will be quite and listen without interrupting. When it is time for the other to speak we try to remember to say ” do you want me to try to fix it or do you want to vent” I say try to remember because we still don’t have this down pat, but probably like 3/4th of the time.

For me the when an adult is not listening it drives me bonkers. It says to me “I know everything and there is not something you could possibly add to this conversation.” I of course realize that I am guilty of this too. I am so eager to share my knowledge that sometimes I feel bursting at the seems to tell. I don’t give adequate attention to the other person speaking. In my eagerness I forget that they have a lot to add to my knowledge. Such a shame.

With children it is very different. It is still so very frustrating when they do not listen or even worse look at you and proceed to do exactly the thing they know they should not. However I have found their reasons are different. Perhaps they really want you attention and need a little cuddle.  We have all heard negative attention is still attention,even though we all know it sometimes we forget.  Whats more it may be a stage. The two going on in my house right now are Little is growing (AGAIN!) and she is 2.

Growth spurts are often (though not always) accompanied with other developmental leaps.  New brain developments or concepts formed. Now my child is on her way to being taller than me by kindergarten. She has grown at least 5 inches in the last 6 months and has gone from 2t to 4t in no time flat. She (like all children) is learning new things every day and her concepts of how numbers work and her vocabulary are exploding. With all this going on in her brain, it is not a surprise that she sometimes tunes out the stuff outside.

She is also 2 and which speaks more about development. I read in The Female Brain, that toddlers, like adolescents are in a “hormonal bath.” There brains and bodies are getting ready to be who they are, and work the way the will work. As every woman knows, hormones are no joke.  Not to mention that they have learned they are separate from you and they are testing their limits. Which is a whole other fun topic. Every way you look at it they are learning their place in the world.

As I said all of this can be pretty frustrating. So how do you keep cool and get them to behave. Well I don’t know I am just muddling through this like everyone else. We try talking about things. We do time outs. We do rewards. I tell her when I am so proud of her for having good behavior/ table manners/ listening. I also try to remember she is learning. She is learning how to be in this world and it is my job to teach her. That does not mean that I tell her once and bam she has it. It means constant repetition. That is how we learn and that is how they learn.

It also means listening to her.

Which of course brings me back to my original point. Instead of talking to her, asking questions and trying to get her to talk to me. Maybe she want to show me a butterfly or her loft bed for the 3 thousandth time, and tossing her show across the room is how she is trying to express this point. So working on how to properly express yourself is also an important education.  I have found at least with my Little that the more I listen to her, the more she learns that is what people do, and the more she listens to me.  Treating her with respect that I would give another is part of me modeling the behavior I want from her. Modeling behavior seems to me to be the best and easiest way to educate a child on how they should be acting.

Like I said I don’t have all the answers (or maybe any) but I do know that working on listening with respect to my child and others can only serve me well.

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