Learning to Listen to our Little Ones – Diary of a Baba
Posted on February 2, 2019
Yesterday was another hectic morning of drop off to therapy and then preschool, including some conference calls wedged in between.
I was frustrated throughout the morning but mostly feeling some guilt for being away again this weekend. I was doing my best to be patient.
As we were about to walk out the door (almost on time, actually) Collin says, “Baba, I don’t want to go.”
This is a common reaction and many children employ this tactic.
My auto responses were also ready. “Come on!! Hurry!! Don’t want to be late!!” I was also ready with my backup plan of supplying some incentives like watching Peppa pig videos in the car to get him out the door.
But this time I tried something different. I said, “Okay, tell me why?”
He didn’t hear me and says again but louder this time, “I don’t want to go!!”
Then I said, “Okay… I’m listening. Tell me why. Give me a reason.”
A little surprised, I think, he shared in a timid voice that he is bored in session and in particularly bored of one of the games. I said that he could tell the teacher and he sorta agreed (including the video package, of course).
When we arrived, he was too shy to tell the teacher and clinging to my leg. After a few attempts and deep breathes, I had him say it to me in front of the teacher and the other children.
Once he said it, the other children agreed and cheered. The teacher immediately said okay and offered another game (Play-Doh). His entire demeanor completely changed and he jumped out of my lap. He was SO excited. It ended up being a great session.
I may be extrapolating a lot from this one experience but I learned a lot from all this. Our little ones are such a source of wisdom.
First, for me, I’m going to listen more and better. Collin is at the age where he is very expressive and once we ask him why he is frustrated, sad or mad, it all usually makes sense.
Second, I learned it isn’t easy stating a need that will actually resolve the problem. Sometimes its fear of rejection or we just don’t know what we want or need. As a parent (partner, friend and comrade), making space for more curiosity and listening is hard to do but so needed.
Finally, I learned guilt is not a bad thing, necessarily. We can get stuck in those feels but I let myself channel the guilt to something more generative. I’m proud I was able to do that. Overall, I’m still working on that guilt thing but that’s another blog.
Happy weekend and lunar New Years <3
Selfie of me and Collin. We are on the train at the Oakland Zoo