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Truly LISTEN to Your Children

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Parenting Tip Number Three

We need to really, truly listen to our children and teenagers.
Obviously, they should speak respectfully, but our children, of any age, should feel free to come to us and share anything that is on their heart.
They should be able to share any doubts, any fears, any worries, any joys and any confessions. Absolutely anything.
If we don’t listen to them when they attempt to share their deepest joys and struggles with us, they will not confide in us again, or at least not until we regain their trust.
No matter what they say, we need to be calm and listen. We need to look at them in the eyes. We need to avoid scolding or lecturing (like the plague!!).

We should not blow off their worries and troubles, no matter how minor they may seem to us. If something is important to them, it should be important to us.
When we have listened to all they have to say, and thanked them for sharing their heart with us, at that point we can gently and lovingly direct them to Scripture, if necessary. (There may be times, however, especially as they get older, when they know the right answers. They just need someone to listen and be there for them.)
Count it a privilege and honor when your child, or teenager, wants to talk to you about his or her struggles and joys.
We need to keep what our child shares with us in confidence. Of course we can and should tell our spouse and, occasionally, we may need to seek outside council. But my girlfriends, my homeschool group and Facebook *wink* do not need to know my children’s innermost struggles and heartaches. We should have the same respect for our children that we want our confidants to have for us.

On a side note: While we should carefully listen to any child, of any age and gender, this is especially important with teenage boys. If your teenage boy is confiding in you, drop EVERYTHING and listen. It is very hard for many teenage boys to open up. If they are willing to share their heart with us, we need to guard that trust as a sacred treasure. We must make sure we respond in a way that will make them want to continue to confide in us.

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Kim

Kim Stilwell has been married to her best friend, Jeff, since 1987. They have five children, Joshua (1992) who has been married to Alissa since 2013, Joseph (1995), Josiah (1997), Jessica (1998) and Jennifer (2001), as well as eight children in Heaven, all of whom died before birth. Kim was a missionary kid who grew up in Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Peru. She met Jeff, also an MK, at a missionary school in Peru. Immediately following their wedding, they attended college in Iowa and have lived there ever since. Kim is a full time stay at home, homeschooling mom. In her spare time, she likes to write, and has a column in the NICHE newsletter.

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