Sunday, August 11, 2013

Listening Intentionally To Our Children

Making your home sing Mondays

Welcome to the Making Your Home Sing Monday linky party! Every day you are doing something to make your house into a home for yourself and your family (if you have one). 

My point with each Monday post is, what are YOU doing or going to do today to make your home sing?  It can be an attitude or an action. So have fun, do some blog hopping, and link up!  Thanks!

Topics can include marriage, parenting, encouraging women, organization, cleaning, saving money, our behavior and attitudes, homemaking, homeschooling, recipes....the opportunities are endless.

Note:  We had 104 linkups last week which is awesome!  I'm sorry that I may not get to every one of you, but I do thank you and appreciate you linking up!  Don't forget to visit one another and try to leave a comment on at least one blog to encourage someone today!  :)

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I remember doing the dishes one day with my back to my child while he was sharing something with me and I realized he was talking to the back of my head!

Right then and there the Lord reminded me that my child was more important than the dishes.  The dishes could wait.  My son could not.  I stopped what I was doing and turned around and listened, really listened, with my heart as well as my body.

Mom's love to multitask.  We NEED to multitask.

But one thing we shouldn't multitask is our parenting.

Our children will come and talk to us all day long, and if we dropped what we were doing every time they opened their mouths, we'd never get anything done, right?

But there are times and moments when we really can and should stop and listen and give them our full attention.

How many times have you had to ask your child to repeat something because you aren't really listening the first time?

How many times have you had to say "Wait, what?"

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How many times have they had a conversation with the back of your head or your profile?

How often do you try and look fully into your child's eyes and engage when they talk to you?

How often are you planning your grocery list or thinking about dinner when your child is talking to you?

For the most part, our children know when we aren't really paying attention.  Even a little toddler will turn your face to theirs.

Our kids want our full attention but they also learn that sometimes mommy has to keep one eye on the toddler and another eye on the stove.

But what about when mom is playing on the computer or watching t.v.?  What about when she's folding the laundry or doing dishes?  When can we talk and share and do something with our hands and when should we stop and just listen?

I believe that we can trust our instincts and trust God to reveal it to us.  We know our children, and when we are listening intentionally, I believe our hearts can tell when our child is sharing something that is difficult for them and needs our full attention, and when they are sharing a funny or interesting story to which we can laugh with them as we fold the towels.

We can train our children NOT to talk to us by not giving them our full attention or by letting them talk to the back of our heads.

Is that what we want?

Do we really want our teenagers NOT to talk to us?  Do we really want to train our younger children NOT to come to us when they have a problem?

If our children feel like they can't talk to us when things are going right with them, how are they going to feel about coming to us when things are going WRONG with them?

We have to find a way to let our children know that we want to hear what they have to say.  We have to find a balance. Sometimes that means putting the t.v. on mute and turning toward them.  Sometimes that means stepping away from the computer.

Sometimes that means stopping what you are doing, putting your hands in your lap and letting your body language say "O.k., I am listening."

Kids are smart.  Your words may say "I'm listening" but your body language can communicate an impatience to get back to what you are doing.

We have to remember that a child's confidence is a precious thing to have.  We can keep it if we cultivate it and work at it.

Listening does not involve just the ears.  It involves the entire body.  It involves the mind, the heart and the spirit as well.

Listening involves closing our mouths and letting our children speak.  It involves hearing them out and letting them finish.  If we jump it to quickly with a "I TOLD you not to do that!!!!" we might just shut them up and not get the rest of the story.

When we are trying to listen intentionally, I believe we can trust God and our own judgment to show us when we need to give them our full attention.

It is important to listen.  It is important to give our children our full attention when we can.  Because nothing matters more than our children knowing that they matter to us and to God!

What are you doing or going to do today to make your home sing? Please go here for instructions and/or ideas and come back here to link up to join us today! Please do not put your own "Making Your Home Sing Monday" Linky on your blog.

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  1. Children are so sensitive to a parent not listening to them, they have radar and they can tell. I like that my current kitchen sink faces the living room and is all open to everything that is going on. Even grown kids want to talk sometimes and dishes won't be important in ten years and neither will be this comment. I have shut the lid of my laptop many times in order to listen.

    1. Oh that's so cool! My kitchen sink looks outside, which was nice when they were little and playing outside!

      As parents I think we have to train ourselves to listen but it's not impossible!

  2. I love your posts. There is always inspiring information. I agree. If we do not take the time to listen to our children without multitasking, then they don't think they are important. great post

    1. Oh thank you for your sweet comment, Judee! Yes, we definitely want them to know that they are more important than our t.v. or laptops! :)

  3. Well, how hilarious is this! My post for Tuesday is on this very same subject! Must be something the Lord is wanting to address in us moms across the blogosphere! Praise the Lord!!

    Excellent thoughts. Thanks for hosting, as always!

    1. I have had this happen several times, Kate! Isn't it amazing when God does that? It just reinforces whatever I am writing or reading when I see that.

      Sometimes I will write a post and then read someone else's post on the same topic. I say great minds think alike, lol! ;)

  4. Great reminder! I know that my 2 year old will hold my face so I will look at him when he is "talking". Everyone wants to have full attention, I guess. :)

    Lindsey at Growing Kids Ministry

    1. I remember when my kids used to do that as well. Wouldn't it be nice if we could do that to adults and get them to put down their cell phones while talking to us? Lol!

  5. Hope you have a great day, Nan! Thanks for the linkup and the encouraging article!

    1. You have an awesome day too, Sarah. And thanks for linking up today!

  6. Really great article, Nan! Totally get what you are saying and know God has been speaking the same thing to MY heart. Thankfully we never have to talk to the back of His head, and reminds me that my children should never have to do that, either!

    1. Oh I LOVE that, Debbie! That is so true and we are blessed to always have His complete attention! :)

  7. Nan....I loved this post! I wrote one on the same topic a while back because I believe it is something we moms must work on. I loved your line about not "multitasking our parenting". So true my friend. Thank you for the link up today as well. Have a wonderful week.

    1. Thank you, Naomi! Yes, it is. It's something we must practice over and over until we "get" it, and even then, we need to keep at it! :)

  8. Yes, Nan, and I can be guilty of these things with my hubby now that my children are grown.

    When my children were at home, they knew that they would not get my full attention if I was on the computer, so they'd ask me questions then, hoping to get a quick "yes." : )

    So giving attention to our children is important for our own knowledge as well as their needs/situations.

    But there's always a balance. It's always a challenge to make sure our children know they are loved without thinking they are the center of the world and their every desire is more important than everything else we are doing. They need to learn patience too. : )

    We really need to depend on God to figure out the times to say "wait."

    1. Yes, they are sneaky that way, aren't they? I'm afraid I was too as a child, lol!

      I love your comment about there being a balance because that is true. They DO need to learn patience and to learn how to wait.


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