Two simple tips to help us really listen to our little ones. Again, in my progressive parenting “Extreme” Series, I simply mean that these “secrets” are extreme because they are not the usual :)
1) Saying, “I hear you”. Say “I hear you” both when your child is staying something wonderful and also when your child is whining. Letting your child know they are heard and not ignored when you are about to say “and” or “but” or “no” as in:
“I am hearing that you want a cookie and I said you will have a cookie after you have had a few bites of beans.”
And then, instead of just saying “I love you” back, I sometimes say “I hear you say you love me. That makes me feel so happy. I love you too.”
For my daughter and myself, we both feel so much better after I have said that I’ve heard her.
2) Refraining form Shushing. Saying “Shh” can be a helpful calming technique for some infants, but it is a very disrespectful thing to do to a toddler or preschooler. So your little one is whining for your attention or saying something awful, or “fake” crying, or repeating ad nauseam or crying dramatically. Yes, it is annoying and sometimes we run out of the right things to say in response. But the first time I ran out of something to say as a response to whining and I said “Shh” was a very difficult experience for me. I heard it come out of my mouth and I felt I had stabbed both of us in the heart and I had “shut her up.”
Turning to someone who is trying to vocalize a need, perceived need, a want or a discomfort and telling them to hush is extremely disrespectful. We would never “shh” an adult. Shushing does equate to “shut up and shut down.”
Instead, you can breathe a loud, deep breath and ask for the child to breathe with you. Instead, we can we can simply say “I hear you.” Instead, we can say “I don’t know what to do/say.” The child gets to have his experience. You get to witness his experience. We don’t always have to change or fix his experience. #greatestlessonofall #codependentnomore