Tuesday, 11 December 2018

C Columns

Your silent superpower: Listen to Kids, Beware of 'Schmutz'

By Janet Lund

“Hello There!”

When you look in the mirror do you ever wonder why you have two ears but only one mouth?

Having two ears makes amazing things possible:

1. You can hear sounds in stereo.

2. You can hone in on the location of a sound.

3. Your face and head look balanced.

Having two mouths? Hmm… Not pretty. Because people interrupt each other all the time, can you imagine listening to someone who could interrupt themselves? Oi!

We were given two ears and one mouth so that every morning when we look in the mirror, our reflection reminds us that listening is twice as important as speaking.

The Thing About Listening…

When we listen, we learn and grow to understand someone. Once we receive their message we need to:

1. Pause, think, and process.

2. Then formulate and ask open-ended questions to learn more.

Thoughts need to incubate inside of us before something verbally valuable can come out of us. Doing so enables us to connect heart-to-heart.

Listening = A Parent’s Superpower

The need for good listening skills increases once you have kids. As your kids grow, your skills must grow too. Your listening ear is one of the most important gifts you can give your child. This is especially the case as they move from childhood to becoming an adult.

Parents often make the mistake of thinking that teens don’t need them around as much because they are nearly grown. However, it is just the opposite.

Teens are like preschoolers. They are at the very beginning of their journey to adulthood. Teenagers are experiencing an array of new emotions, their brains are under major construction, hormones are kicking in, and they are confronted daily with adult issues at school and with friends.

Having you available to listen is crucial.

The Thing About Sound-Schmutz…

What? You’ve haven’t heard of sound-schmutz? Well, maybe it’s because I made it up. Here’s why. Sound-schmutz is to a parent what kryptonite is to Superman!

It can be very difficult to listen well when you have schmutz! What is schmutz? Visually speaking, schmutz is the goo you find on windows, your glasses, or a camera lens. Schmutz makes our vision blurry. No matter how hard you try to see things clearly, if you don’t remove the schmutz you won’t see accurately.

What does schmutz have to do with listening? Well, no matter how ready your ears are for listening, it’s important that you first remove your sound-schmutz.

But here’s the key difference: sound-schmutz is internal. It’s the noise going on in between your ears. Phrases like: “I’m going to be late!” “The house is such a mess.” “I am so unorganized.” “I screwed up again!” “Man, I look old.”

Sound-schmutz is the negative voice in your head that keeps you from hearing your child accurately.

How To Deal With Schmutz, Part 1

It is important to pause and listen for the schmutz in your head. Recognize it exists, and then put it up on a shelf. Once you have done this, you can focus on listening to what your child is saying.

Putting it on a shelf is not denying that your schmutz exists. Quite the contrary. You are acknowledging its presence and choosing to deal with it later.

What if you don’t? If you pretend sound-schmutz doesn't exist, it will:

1. Make you feel small, ill equipped, unintelligent, and ugly.

2. Weave negative innuendos into your child’s message.

3. Keep you from hearing your child’s message clearly.

4. Impede you from being the responsive, loving mom that you are.

5. Cause you to say something hurtful to your child.

That’s why it is so important to recognize your sound-schmutz and put it on a shelf.

How To Deal With Schmutz, Part 2

Later, during a quiet moment, take time to bring your schmutz off the shelf. Listen to its phrases, write them in a journal, reflect, and then get curious. Was something said to you today that made you feel small? Did what was said resonate with something you heard growing up? Spend some time writing and reflecting.

It may also be helpful to talk with a close friend or a counselor about your schmutz. When you bring dark, hurtful words and thoughts out into the light, they start to lose power over you.

Clearing out the sound-schmutz takes effort, but it’s worth it.

Which Brings Us Back To Listening

Being a good listener is hard work. Being a good listener to a pre-teen or teen daughter can be more than that; it can be overwhelming. Communication between a mother and daughter can be the most volatile in the family and impacts everyone else.

That’s why I wrote “L.O.V.E.D. 5 Simple Steps to Connect with Your Teen Daughter.” It provides tools to nurture your relationship into something beautiful. It will equip you to move from arguing to understanding, and from heartbreak to hope.

The L in L.O.V.E.D. is for listening. It’s the beginning of the journey that will empower you to build a powerful heart-to-heart connection with your growing girl.

Learn more about L.O.V.E.D. at http://bit.ly/LOVED-Journals.

Remember, listening to yourself first empowers you to listen intentionally to your child. Take that first step to clear out the schmutz so you can make sure your child feels listened to and loved.

Clear your head. Quietly focus. And then listen in love.

Janet Lund is a relationship coach who specializes in nurturing the bond between moms and their teen/pre-teen daughters. She leads moms through coaching, speaking, and songwriting. Janet has spoken and performed in Canada, the United States, and Norway. Follow her on facebook.com/momkeepcalm and visit her website momkeepcalm.com for parenting tools and words of support to be a calm mom.

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