Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Danger of Raising Nice Kids - Ch. 5

More great stuff from Timothy Smith's book. This chapter is called Learning to Listen. Last year one of my New Year's resolutions was learning to be a better listener. At the time I made that resolution I was thinking more of listening to Greg and my friends. I hadn't really extended that to my kids.

This chapter made me realize that often I try to jump in and finishe their thoughts, offer advice or criticism when that's not really why they're talking to me. I need to let them finish, come to some conclusions on their own, offer advice when they are totally off base, direct their thoughts when necessary....but I really need to listen.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the chapter:

Listening without interrupting allow our child to get themselves out of difficult situations and become the hero of their own story.

The context of this quote came from a time the author picked his teenaged daughter up after a party. He asked how it was and she began to tell him about all the alcohol that was there. The author resisted the temptation to immediately jump in and let her finish. She continued to tell him about the drugs that were at the party and the sex that was happening. He would have missed all that if he would have jumped in. Then she got to be the hero....she continued and told him that she and her friends left and went to In n Out for a shake.

Not every moment is a teachable moment. Let some go by. Your kids will give you plenty of opportunities to interrupt, scold and interrogate. Resist the temptation. It's a test! They are baiting you. They are checking to see if you really care enough to listen, just listen, without correcting, lecturing or getting the details.

This happened in our house not to long ago. Kade started sharing something that really shocked me. A few times he stopped and looked at me to see what I was going to do. I wanted so badly to jump in, but I just kept my mouth shut and he continued. I found out sooooo much more than I would have if I would have laid into him right away. Later that evening, after being able to really think about what he had said, I went back to him and asked a few questions and it opened up a very productive conversation.

Comments such as: Sit up straight, your posture is terrible; Chew with your mouth shut, what are you an animal?; You behave like monkeys, knock it off; You aren't working up to your potential; I don't like your attitude...Such comments erupting from our lips destroy communication with our kids. Constant criticism and correction destroy communication with our kids. I am not saying never to correct your child, just be strategic about it. Know when and where. Connect first, correct second.

The key is this section for me was the word erupt. I compare it to a volcano......destructive. I know that I have said some of these things, because when I was younger I heard them. It's like we're conditioned to them. I like the idea of strategic correction.

There's a lot more to this chapter, but I will stop here for today and do the rest tomorrow. Every time I go back and re-read this book, or the posts, the overall message is shockingly clear to me. Active parenting. We cannot be passive or selfish. The time God has given us with our children is short......we must enjoy it, value it and create as much good with it as we can while we have it.


Julie O said...

You don't even know how much I needed this. Thank you so much for posting it. Things to do in the morning, go buy this book. I have agreed with the points and look forward to reading it.
Thanks don't even know.

Catherine said...

Active parenting is a great thing! I think the message of this book that I've gotten from your description is great.

Laura said...

I'm really enjoying reading your posts Julie. SO many good points! Thanks for sharing!

photolady said...

I agree that the time with them as children is short and MY goal is to completely enjoy it!

Melanie said...

Wow, I do the same thing as you do. I do need to listen more. Thanks for posting about this book and this chapter.