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Nurting Parents Listening Skills

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

There is a reason God gave us two ears - because one of these days we would be parents!

The most important skill you can develop as a parent is the ability to listen to your kids. Not so you can give them everything they want but so you can understand what they need.

When my oldest son was about 4 years old he came crashing in to my study wanting something. I was busy preparing for a test (This was my first year at Bible College. Important stuff right?). He started to rattle off what he wanted. I halfheartedly nodded in his direction. He stopped and eagerly patted my leg, 'But Daddy' he began again, 'I really...'

I cut him off; 'I know son, I'm listening.'

'Yeah Daddy, but could you listen this time a little slower?'

It was a good lesson for this dad because he was four. Had he been 14 he would have just walked away. I would have never known.
Love demands that we 'listen a little slower!'

Listening slower involves listening at the pace your child is talking. Hearing what they are saying at the speed they are saying, not the speed you want to hear it. If you are saying to yourself; 'just get to the point' you aren't listening slower. Pace is an important part of communication. Rushing to get to the point makes the communication about the words and not your child. If you're trying to rush to the point you may miss the point completely.

It means to listen deliberately. Giving attention to the words being spoken and the manner in which they are spoken. Listening for more than the sound being made. When you listen deliberately you are hearing the nuances that make communication between parent and child so important.

It means to listen devotedly. You communicate to your child how devoted you are to them by the way you listen to them. Making a request of parent is a difficult task for some kids. Making a point isn't easy either. They have to work up the nerve to say what they want. Your ability to listen devotedly puts them in a proper frame of mind. Then you will hear what you really need to hear.

You cannot parent with power unless you develop these listening skills as a christian. Listen slower. It is the most valuable gift your child will ever receive from you.

You can't give them everything they ask for, but you can give them your attention. Most of the time that is more important than the request itself.

One of the most important skills you can have is the ability to listen. Maybe the next time your child is talking you can 'listen a little slower...'