Listen without talking. Middlers are sometimes slow to pull their thoughts together. After all, they are developing mentally, as well! Your child needs a patient listener who does not interrupt or try to rush him through a conversation by speaking for him. My middler knows that I often fall short in this area of listening. I try to keep the words of James 1:19 before me: ...be quick to listen, slow to speak...
- Make eye contact.
- Focus on your child.
- Don't plan how you're going to respond or reply until your child is finished talking.
- To be sure you were listening well, repeat what your child said. Say, "Okay, I heard you say that you wanted to..."
- Does your silence lead her to continue reasoning, or is she looking at you expectantly?
- Rather than giving her an answer, ask questions that will lead her to a conclusion of her own. If you make this decision, how will you feel later today? How will you feel about it next month? Who will be affected by your decision?
- Take advantage of drives to sports practices and music lessons by showing your interest in listening to your child.
- Put the cell phone on silent and turn the radio down.
- Plan occasional dates with your growing child.
The years are few and fleeting. Listen well!
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