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Old 04-26-2009, 02:35 PM
Location: Here... for now
1,747 posts, read 2,618,392 times
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I'd love to be able to say I 100% always listened when my son wanted to chat but there were times when I simply couldn't.

Knock knock knock on the bathroom door. "Mommmmm..." Or when I was on the phone with a doctor or whatnot. You know what I mean. But I can guarantee on those rare occasions when I simply could not chat at that very moment (once I'd determined that it was not a dire, life-threatening emergency), he got the following response:

"Sweetie, can you hold for just a sec. I want to be able to give you my full attention."

And then, just as soon as I could, I'd finish up whatever it was I was doing and seek him out (if he wasn't still standing there ).

I agree with all of you who've posted so far. Being there to listen is one of the most important things we do as parents. The more and the earlier we start listening, the more likely they'll come to us to talk, now and in the future.

Oh, and ditto on the car, especially for boys. Having no siblings, I didn't have much exposure to boy culture but one thing I learned early on as the parent of a boy is how boys often feel uncomfortable with eye contact during conversations (unlike girls, who eat it up). My son and I have had many of our deepest conversations in the car, where we didn't have to look at one another.
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Old 04-26-2009, 02:43 PM
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There has to be a balance. Yes, I do listen to my kids. But they have to also learn the world isn't going to stop so that they can tell me about something that can wait. If I am up to my elbows in some chore, or work (they sometimes go with me) or having a conversation with another child or my husband, I will pause and say, "are you bleeding, do you need to go to the ER, is something on fire?" If the answer is no, then you need to hold on until I am finished (scrubbing the toilet, taking this message for work, entering the payroll, talking to.... or whatever I am focused on at the moment.
In our home, we do have a family dinner at least 3/4 of the time. We do game night, and we do listen to statistics on videogames, build a bear, guitar riffs, whatever the kids are into. We have shows we watch together and discuss. Car convos are invaluable.... but I think you are sending the wrong message to your child if you stop everytime they want to tell you that their lego tank has demolished the lego town or that their pink teddy bear likes orange pretend tea better than green pretend tea or in the case of my oldest that David Lee Roth era Van Halen is better than Sammy Hagar era Van Halen (we had that convo in the car today).
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Old 04-26-2009, 03:20 PM
Location: here
24,469 posts, read 28,723,874 times
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It depends on what I am doing at the moment. Yes, the kids are THE most important thing in my life, but they need to learn good manners, and how not to interrupt, and that the world does not revolve around them.
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Old 04-26-2009, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by rockinmomma View Post
There has to be a balance. ....in the case of my oldest that David Lee Roth era Van Halen is better than Sammy Hagar era Van Halen (we had that convo in the car today).
He's right, you know.

I agree with you and I can totally relate to the triage system of whether you have to stop and listen right there or it can wait til you are done showering, washing dishes, merging onto the freeway, etc....
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Old 04-26-2009, 04:45 PM
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The reason important conversations usually come up in the car is because they have your attention but don't have to make eye contact....

I have found, especially now that my son is a teen, that he wants to talk at the oddest times - and I always listen because with a teen if you wait and put them off, you may have lost the opportunity.
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Old 04-26-2009, 08:55 PM
Location: Upstate NY
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I wish more people were better listeners! My SO does his best to listen when I need him to and vice versa. But growing up whenever I needed someone to talk to my mother would always say she was "busy" and my dad was almost never around due to work (he was a pretty good listener when he was around though).

I have a lot of issues with my mother saying she was always too busy to talk when she really wasn't. When I was a teenager she always complained that I never wanted to talk to her, but it was mostly because she's a horrible listener! And then she always expects everyone to listen to everything she has to say. I always found someone else to talk to.
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Old 04-26-2009, 09:36 PM
Location: Here... for now
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Puru, I didn't have many good listeners around me growing up either. Because of that, I vowed to do better. I remember taking classes which included lessons on how to be a better listener (not sure what the classes were). We learned "active" listening and "engaged" listening. I paid close attention.

People tell me now that one of the reasons they like talking to me is because they feel I really listen. I also think people confide a lot of things to me that they wouldn't necessarily tell just anybody. I'm honored by the trust they place in me (and boy, can I keep a secret!!!).

Listening is a skill and I've tried to teach it to my son. He's been a great student and now he, too, is a great listener! DH, on the other hand... I sometimes get the impression that, when I'm talking, he's using that time to formulate what he's going to say next!!!
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:35 AM
Location: Orlando
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Originally Posted by aidxen View Post
I learned a lesson today.

My child came to me wanting to talk and they started to tell me something but I was busy and said to them not to tell me now. Now I am quite strict and they know not to persist pester and so they went away.

I saw him sitting looking sad had moment to pause and think.

Yes I was busy at the time he had come to me. But was I really THAT busy. Was what I was doing THAT important that I could'nt have just paused and listened? A lot of story can be told in a minute and I am sure that whatever he wanted to say would have only taken a minute.

So I have resolved to be a better listner. It will take practice and I know that I like to not be interrupted and so my instictive raction is to say not now but I am going to try to listen and respond unless whatever I am doing is absolutly important and given that I am not the president or ambulance dispatcher, then it is pretty likely that whatever I am doing aint all that important.

Anyway I just thought I would share that. And perhaps ask others - do you listen to your kids when they want you or when it is convienient to you?

Kudos to you to realize this.
Every once in awhile we ALL need a little conk on the head!
Lord knows I haven't met a perfect parent yet.

Your child will always remember they time you spend with him.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:41 AM
Location: Oregon
1,532 posts, read 2,289,385 times
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I had a similiar situation to the OP when my son was a little guy. I am sure you all know how it is when it is the 1,000th time they have said "Mom" in about 10 minutes - - - - I answered rather shortly, and my frustration must have showed more than I intended. He just got a sad face and said "nothing". It broke my heart, and at that point I decided to do whatever I could to listen to them and let them know that I am always here to listen.

Now, I will say if they interupt, that's a different story. Then they will be told to wait until the current conversation is over. I will also admit that there have been a few times that one of them has said what they had to say, and were giving me the "So, what's your response" look, and I would have to say "Huh - - - oh, I'm sorry, could you repeat that?". But then, realizing I'm blowing it, I put whatever I am doing aside and listen!

My mom was the type that was great to talk to, as long as it was happy simple stuff, but if you had a problem, I got the "Your problems are nothing" speech. I am going to really try to not have that attitude with my kids.
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:04 AM
Location: Connecticut
427 posts, read 1,210,356 times
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I'm basically a second parent to my little brother due to the 18 year age difference, I try to always listen to what he has to say, although sometimes I have to guide him to get to the point when he gets sidetracked. Once he had to pee and couldn't get the button undone and went to tell my mom but got into a whole story and had an accident getting to the point.

Besides I love the stories and comments that come out of that little mouth. Some of his stories make my day, plus the game of trying to figure out some of the trickier words. I think it's important to talk to him and have conversations with him. At four he talks better than our cousin who is 5 1/2.
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