Time and Space

How are you settling into the new-ish year?

With the kids back at pre/primary/high school, it’s onto sizzling routines, packing lunch boxes (sigh), washing school clothes, class information nights, notes from school, and lots of organising. It’s full-on isn’t it?

Sometimes with all of this ‘doing’ we forget about ‘being’ with our kids.

When do you make the time to just ‘be’ with your kids? Time that’s free of distractions, where you ‘hang-out’ and enjoy each other’s company, where there is space for them to talk about what matters to them (the big stuff and little stuff) , and where you LISTEN.

Some parents say their kids won’t talk to them, or they can’t get past the one word answers like ‘good’, ‘nothing’, ‘nowhere’, and ‘nobody’. I ask those parents if they make the time, and if they do, then do they shut-up?  Kids clam up when parents pressure kids for answers, jump in and offer advice, rouse on them for getting things wrong when they’ve had a go. Kids are actually very smart and they can be supported to generate their own solutions to their problems – yes, even really little kids.

I have spaces in the day where I am “with” my kids and fill it with my silence and my presence – the walk home from school, afternoon tea, a snuggle on the lounge, one-on-one time with each of the kids even if it is just grocery shopping. Silence is one of my favourite parenting tools, but with the silence comes my openness and willingness to listen and reflect what they say.

I recently asked a group of parents the qualities they value in a friend. They said someone who:

  • is non-judgemental
  • listens, listens, listens
  • doesn’t bombard you with advice
  • doesn’t blab on about their own stuff, or lecture
  • you can trust
  • cares

You are not your child’s friend, but your role as a parent should offer the same kindness. When do you offer these qualities and ‘the time’ to your child?

.

Listen-Earnestly1

Narelle Smith

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Categories: Parenting Skills

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