By Paige Trevor
We are almost done with PEP I, hard to believe. It’s been a fun, connected and terrific class. So terrific that a lot of us are sticking together to go on to PEP II in the spring. I’m so grateful to everyone who made this happen, especially since PEP II is the MOST FUN PEP CLASS EVER, and I’m not even joking. PEP II is filled with problem solving, group participation, laughter, insight and never-ending aha! moments. I almost can’t wait to get started!
Session 7 of PEP I was all about listening. Listening is a very, very powerful parenting tool. Listening is also, tragically, a very, very underused parenting tool. So listen up, folks, and learn why listening can help you parent more effectively today!
I share with you this quote from Children: The Challenge, by Rudolf Dreikurs:
We need to accept our children as partners in the business of creating family harmony. Their ideas and viewpoints are important, particularly since they act in accordance with them! . . . To listen to our child means to discover his logic.¹
All of us act and behave in ways that make sense to us from our own inner, private logic. Things like, “If I ask nicely they will do that chore for me.” “If I use a mean tone of voice they will hop to.” “Children should be obedient to their parents.” “If I was a good parent my kids would be getting straight A’s.” You get the gist? We all have these ideas about the way the world works and, because we are experienced, and mature, we have come to learn that not everyone has the same logic. That includes our kids.
Gasp! Yes it’s true, our kids have their own inner, private logic, too. It might be, “My mom doesn’t mean business until her lips are pursed, that vein is popping and I hear stomping.” Or, “Mom and Dad like my sister more than they like me because they ooh and ahh over her walking. I’m less important to them.” So you see where kids might misbehave because their private logic, which makes sense to them, is causing them to choose less than ideal ways to interact with family members?
When we truly listen—with an open heart and open mind, no iPad, iPhone, iPod in sight, our body language relaxed and open (arms not crossed, face not clenched) and we are not in a rush—we might learn something about our kids and why they do what they do. Listening means we take it in, we do not judge, we do not talk, we do not problem solve. We can nod and uhhum; we can pose questions to get more clarification.
Listening, true listening (not just so we can then say our piece, or prove them wrong), to them is a labor of love, a real relationship plumper, a way to get closer to each other. Shall we all try it tonight?
1. Children: The Challenge, Rudolf Dreikurs, M.D., with Vicki Soltz, R.N. (Penguin Books, 1987 edition; originally published by Hawthorn Books, 1964), pp. 296-97.
Paige Trevor is a certified parent educator, writer, public speaker and founder of Balancing Act, LLC, an organizing consultancy providing tried-and-true methods for establishing efficient routines and a peaceful household. She is the mother of two teenagers.
Note: Today, March 17, is the final day to get the early-bird discount of 20% off any spring core class! Registration here, before midnight tonight, and use the code EARLYBIRD15.
Parent Encouragement Program
10100 Connecticut Ave.
Kensington, MD 20895