Using Siblings to Teach Listening
One thing that as a culture we seem to be failing to teach our children is patience. We are trained for instant gratification and if we are not careful our children will be no different. An area that can be used to teach both listening skills and patience is sibling communication. Like we discussed yesterday active listening is something that is a choice. It is also something that needs to be taught because most of us are born with the “me first” attitude. As parents we can begin to teach active listening by having our children look at us when we are giving an instruction and then simply requiring a response. This will begin to teach children that they need to look at the person that is speaking to them and answer. The next step to teaching listening is with their siblings. We need to train them that their siblings deserve the same kind of listening respect. This is where the patience comes into play as we are helping them to wait their turn in talking. Which means no interrupting. As children get older we also need to train them to stay with the conversation until it has been completed before we bring up something new to talk about. All of these things, that are seemingly simple, are listening skills that some adults have not mastered. This small listening skill that can be practiced with siblings can be invaluable for a child later and help them in both adult relationships and jobs.
Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on this topic.
Love is… not punching my brother. – Benny, age 6
The first attribute found in God’s definition of love (1 Corinthians 13) is patience. In today’s society we don’t do well with patience. We have been trained for the immediate and today’s children are no different. Patience is something that is taught by modeling this behavior. You cannot tell a child to be patient with their sibling and then be in the car driving to the grocery store yelling at the driver in front of you because he is going too slowly.
As parents we must remember that there are always eyes watching to see how we will handle situations. A child is more prone to do what we do rather than do what we say. They are visual learners. We must be conscious how we are reacting to the things around us in word and action. When they watch us our children are learning the “love acted out loud” virtue of patience.
What does it mean to be kind?
The final blocker this week is one that we all have to deal with at one time or another. It is impatience. This is an emotion that can sometimes be avoided if we are simply more organized and not having to rush everywhere. But ultimately patience is a Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), which means that it is not something that we come by naturally.
When we are impatient with our children for whatever reason we can more easily brush off what they are saying and not truly listen to them. If we get in a pattern of impatience it can cause them to clam up and either turn elsewhere to be listened to or internalize everything. Both of these are bad especially when it is our job to make them feel loved and valued.
Choose to be patient with your children. Make sure that you are spending time communicating with God. Only through His strength can you be patient through any frustration, and communicate to your children not only your love for them but ultimately His!
Love to me means hope ~ Lucas, age 6
When our children are small it is easy to have big hopes and dreams for them. Sometimes though, as they grow up, our dreams are dashed in teen years with their fight for independence. Even if they are attempting to find who they are and possibly rebel against our system, we must never loose hope. More importantly we must never communicate that we have lost hope in them. Because often the big dreams we had in the beginning were our dreams and not God’s plans for their lives. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Proverbs 22:6 reads “train up a child in the way HE should go.” Translated better it reads “the way he is bent.” This means we need to be students of our children, learning who they were made to be. When we do this, not only do we not loose hope but we communicate hope.
How do I study my child? The biggest way to learn who your children are is by listening to them. Giving them your time. With a teen it may be a slow and gradual process. Make sure that you are making time to listen TO them rather than lecturing AT them. That may mean you “date” your child or it may simply mean you go and sit on their floor and spend time with them. When a parent gives of their time, especially when teens are trying to buck their authority, it communicates love. It communicates hope and belief that they are worth it!
Love to me means my family and God. ~Hannah, age 7
Some days parenting does seem like a daunting task. Just ask any mom with a two year old. Especially with discipline it is so much easier to just let the child win. But we learn here that love doesn’t give up. A child needs to learn that you mean what you say. If you have said no to the check out lane candy, that means no. There is no amount of whining or crying that will change your word. A gentle explanation and direction may help, but ultimately a child needs to know that you mean what you say. This teaches that you are dependable and trustworthy.
In reality, it makes a child insecure to know that they can consistently “win” over their parents. So this definition of love is a good encouragement on those hard days.