Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Parenting Means Listening

"Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. "Children are an heritage of the Lord" (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations."

Our family has a wide range of ages. Not as wide as some. My grandma's family was quite large (13 children) and the older ones would help care for the younger. Our family is smaller and I am able to care for the little ones. But I think that means the older children and left out.
I took a class a while ago at a Relief Society Conference in our stake. At the time I was so exhausted. Two newborns. A 15 year old. 4 others in between. It took every ounce of strength I had to keep up with the twins. I had little else for the rest of the family. A lot of the work fell on my sweet husband and the older two girls. But the one thing I did have time for, was to listen. Listen to how their day was. Listen to what they were liking at school. What they were hating at school. Listen to what they had planned for the weekend. I learned then that if that is all you can do, it will be enough.
Our second daughter went to live with her dad. That has been a hard thing for me. She had asked before if she could go live with him, but I always felt it wasn't a good thing. But this time, after praying unceasingly for a week on what to do, I felt she should go. I love and miss her so much. She is so fun, and she kept me on my toes. I learned from her how to keep going when I was tired. But after seeing how she is doing, it was the right decision. She had started to refuse to go to church. She didn't want to be home. She treated her siblings badly. Now she treats them better. She has had to be more responsible and take care of her things on her own. If she needs to be somewhere at a certain time, it is totally up to her to get there.

I am still there for her. I send her messages on Facebook, in emails, and talk to her on the phone. She still comes to me with her troubles, with her triumphs.

I watched this clip this morning, and it reminded me that we need to start being there to listen when our children are young. When they are not in school yet. Talk to them about our day, about their day.

Another thing we do to keep communication lines open, we always have dinner together. Sometimes we let the kids eat with friends, or let them have someone over for dinner. But for the most part, we are all together for this very important meal. We, as parents, need that time to check on how the kids are doing. The kids need that time to be together. The little ones need that time to learn how to behave at the table.

I love having my children around me. I love being at home. I want them to know they can come to me with anything. And that I will listen to them. Even if it something I don't want to hear. I love them and will always be there for them. Pin It


Chocolate on my Cranium said...

I need to do better with this. How often do I only "half" listen while doing other things? I need to work on really focusing on my children with they are talking to me. Thank you for the reminder.

Roeckers said...

What a great thought!
I am so not good at taking time to listen to how their day was. I recently had to adjust the baby's schedule so she would be napping when the older ones got home so I COULD focus on them. It has made a huge difference.

Handsfullmom said...

What a great post. You have some great ideas for listening to your kids.

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