Lending A Listening Ear

December 1, 2011 at 4:36 pm (Attachment Parenting, Positive Discipline)

Sometimes all I can do is listen.

There are many moments in parenting in which I don’t instantly know what to say or do; I don’t know how to react, what answers to give, or how I am supposed to proceed right then.

But, really, that’s not so important because I can always listen. Even if I am momentarily clueless, my kids aren’t. They always have something to communicate, and I can listen.

If I don’t have a solution, I can rephrase. “So, when you showed your toy to the class, one boy said he didn’t want to see it, and that hurt your feelings.”

If I don’t have any answers to give, I can aim for understanding. “You must be feeling disappointed.”

If I don’t know what instructions to issue, I can ask questions instead. “What do you think can be done?”

If I don’t know what action to take, I can focus on gaining perspective. “Oh, so you’re telling me…”

I can hug.

When I don’t know what am I supposed to do as a parent, I can focus on what I can be for my child: a point of understanding, a soucre of comfort, a sounding board for emotional release. My kids have something to say, and sometimes, no matter what other uncertainties may exist, I just need to be there to hear it.

All I need to do is listen.


  1. april said,

    Beautifully said! I would love to paraphrase this article in an upcoming Positive Discipline workshop I am teaching for pre-schoolers. Would you be friendly to that idea?
    Thank you,

    • Kelly said,

      April, thank you! And yes, absolutely! 🙂

  2. Bonnie Harris said,

    A perfect description of connection and problem solving. Couldn’t be said more simply or more profoundly. And I will go a step further and say that this all works better when you DON’T have the answer, when you DON’T know what to tell them. They can figure it out when you listen and be their trusted a sounding board.

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