**A big thank you to this week’s guest blogger, Jess from Intentional Families, for sharing a piece of her story with us, along with suggestions for creating more powerful connections with our children.**
I remember this like it was yesterday.
It was starting all over again.
I could feel the hairs on my arms raising.
Breathing was getting hard and I felt like if I didn’t scream, I would hit something.
“If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a MILLION times! Don’t you listen to me?! Take your rubbish to the bin!!”
I didn’t think it was so hard! Why did she have to fight me like all.the.time?!
Blinking through my blinding rage, I could see my little girl, only on this earth for 4 short years, firing up.
She started to give as good as she got, tears welling up, screams getting louder, face going red.
Then it hit me.
I was upset at her for not listening to me, though in reality, I hadn’t really taught her how to listen in the first place.
Now, I know HOW to listen. I teach people how to listen for a living and then some! Though I hadn’t intentionally taken the time to teach my girl how to listen.
So, what’s the best way to teach a 4-year-old how to do something?
I don’t mean the princess dresses and tiara type, though she would absolutely love that!
I mean me, Modelling to her on how to listen.
Though where to start?
Creating A Powerful Connection
I knew that listening is so much more than just hearing the words, it comes to connection. I needed to lay the right foundations first. Three key foundation layers in fact:
Wondering what on earth does the body have to do with it?
Well, have you ever had an incredible conversation with someone who just truly got you?
You felt such a connection with this person.
You may likely have felt exhausted. Like relaxing after an incredible helping of rich lasagna. Happy, but exhausted, and full!
Well, it isn’t called Active Listening for nothing. It is truly very active. We use our whole bodies and senses to connect with what the other person is saying and what they may not be saying (looking at those non-verbal cues).
So, if our bodies are run down from extra demands at work, too many commitments, disrupted sleep, then naturally we are going to struggle with listening to our kids.
We just don’t have the energy!
You know that thing called self-care that us Mum’s selflessly put aside? Well, it is more important for our kids than we give it credit for. After all, even God rested on the seventh day, who are we to suggest it isn’t good?
The mind has a huge part to play.
I find that when I’m reacting like the way I did above, it is because an important value has been crossed.
I’m trying to get my daughter to see that when she doesn’t do what I ask, I feel disrespected; and respect is a hugely important value to me!
No wonder I feel so upset over something that, in the grand scheme of things, doesn’t warrant me losing my cool so intensely!
Though this goes deeper.
When I feel disrespected, I feel like I must be a bad Mum because I can’t get my child to put her rubbish in the bin.
Now, if my friend, or even a stranger for that matter, told me they were a bad Mum because of this, what would my response be?
“Of course you aren’t! You’re an amazing Mum!”, is what I would say.
So, why don’t I tell myself that?
Usually it’s because I react before I even get to think about what this actually means. Which means, I can’t listen well, if at all.
I have found that I need to work on my identity as a Mum, so I can really listen properly. When I don’t have those hurts and pains happening, I can connect with my Family, the way God created them.
My spirit. Such a precious piece of me.
1 Peter 3 says:
4Rather, it (our beauty) should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves.
This passage is particularly referring to wives and their husbands, though it can and should be applied to ourselves in all circumstances – with our children, extended family, friends, colleagues, and so on. This flows on from the mind and is the most important of the three.
When our spirit is quiet and gentle, it doesn’t mean silent and a doormat. Rather, respectful, empathic, assertive, and discerning in speech and action.
So how does one develop such a spirit?
Matthew 11, in the words of Jesus, says:
28“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
This passage ties all three together, with Jesus himself telling us we don’t need to struggle through life to be humble.
Through this journey, I learned that truly listening to my children and getting them to listen to me, starts with me and my relationship with Christ. The more I turn to him, connect with him through his word and with his family, the more I begin to resemble him and connect to my true image.
And this is just the beginning! There are many mechanisms to active listening that we can use to really effectively communicate and connect with our children. Oh the beauty of having an intentional connection with our children!
If you would like to take part in a webinar to learn these tools and deepen your connection with your children, register your interest here: http://eepurl.com/drxQRP
I can’t wait to see you there!
How do you create a powerful connection with your child?
Jess is a lover of good coffee, connecting with others, happy wife of Adam and authentically honest Mum of two little girls. When she isn’t hanging out with this bunch of awesome people, she is enjoying her other passion of training and assessing counselling students, being counsellor, psychotherapist, and family coach for others who strive for the healthy family God created us to be.
Visit Jess at www.intentionalfamilies.com.au and join the community of Angry Peaceful Parents: A place to be real about the difficulties of parenting as we strive to be peaceful https://www.facebook.com/groups/angrypeacefulparents/