Thursday, August 21, 2014

Practice Unconditional Love: Listen First, Respond Later

My first career after my husband and I married was that of working as an Industrial Engineer at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio.  Back then, being a female engineer in a mostly-male world drew a lot of ribbing from the younger male engineers in my group.  At the end of a trying day, John sometimes had to listen to me complain a bit .  He valiantly tried to tell me how to solve my problems, much to my frustration.  After this happened several times, I finally said, "John, I don't need you to rescue me, I just want you to listen!"

As parents, one of our first jobs when our kids are young is to keep them safe and, at times, to rescue them.  As our kids grow, they will take on more and more of that responsibility.  One of our jobs then becomes to listen well when they want to talk.  This allows our kids the place and space to explore what has happened and then decide what they might do next.  If you notice your conversations with your kids often spiral into an emotional tug of war, seek first to truly understand what they are saying instead of telling them what to do.  You may be surprised at the results!

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