I have come to a very important realization as a parent. I may be a great listener but I don’t always hear.
It wasn’t that long ago I was dealing with my 14-year-old daughter on an issue that stirred a lot of emotions on both sides. I had my point of view and she had hers. When she was explaining her side, I was listening. But she kept insisting that I wasn’t.
I found the conversation to be exasperating. What did she mean I wasn’t listening? My eyes were on her, weren’t they? I was standing right in front of her and her mouth was the one moving, correct? Of course I was listening.
But what she was really trying to say is that I wasn’t hearing. I came to this realization only recently and it had nothing to do with my daughter and me. It was a different set of circumstances with a whole different situation when it suddenly struck me.
I can’t go back and “fix” that previous exchange I had with her. But I can tell her that I finally understand what she meant back then. She may not have known to word it that way but it was exactly what the problem was.
You see, listening is one thing. You are taking in what the other person is saying. But hearing means you are able to understand beyond the message. You aren’t ready to jump in there with your response (which I am notorious for doing). Hearing is acknowledging how the other person feels, whether or not you agree.
I plan on doing a lot more hearing from now on. Being a good listener is easy. But being a good hearer takes a little more effort.
Maybe you have been accused of the same thing, “not listening.” I hope this blog helps you to understand what your child is really trying to say.
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