Parenting 101 especially after divorce most important tip:
Be present with your kids. Listen. Take the time and stop what you’re doing so that they feel like you’re listening to them, you’re hearing what they’re telling you and they feel heard because they’re important to you. This makes all the difference to them.Janie Leeds
Recently my kids had some friends over and they were all chatting about men’s fashion styles, what it means to be a gentleman and their relationships with their own dads and stepdads. I was busy putting things away around the house (and yes, I was listening with half an ear) when suddenly one of them asked me how to tie a man’s tie because they were practicing.
Luckily, my own dad had taught me how to tie a Windsor knot, but I can only do it facing the wearer of the tie. So I stopped what I was doing and starting ‘teaching’ it to all of them. It was so fun to be included and we ended up talking for a long time. Sure, did I have plans and was on a roll with what I was doing? Yes! But did I stop it to be present with them? YES!
Why? Because these precious moments don’t come often enough as far as I’m concerned. And when they present themselves, I am all in! These early 20’s year old boys sat around with me (I fixed snacks) and wanted to talk with me. To tell me what was going on with them and how they were feeling. They even talked about their parents’, girlfriends etc. I was amazed and honored. I kept thinking that my kids would want me to butt out, but they encouraged it.
It was really interesting to hear their points of views on life. It made my heart sad when one who has both biological and step dads talk about how he feels alone. The boys shared how they wanted to be dads to their kids and some wanted do things differently than their dads did. But the one thing they kept saying to me was how much they appreciated that I took time out to talk with them.
And what made my heart swell with love was when my kids told them that we do this often. We just talk about life and those boys asked if they could come back and have a chat again soon. I was honored. I even got a bit teary after they left because they seemed to sincerely want to return to just talk and be heard.
So stop and listen when the kids want to talk with you.
Give them your full attention because they know when you’re not and they won’t try to talk with you again if you’re not all in.
They’ll feel pushed away even if that’s not your intention.
They’ll feel alone and abandoned even when you don’t think that’s the vibe you’re giving off.
To them, it is.
I actually think this applies to all relationships, but because we had this experience over the weekend, I thought it was important to tell. Perhaps it might help someone else….