I am on the 3rd Principle, Listen To Your Child, from the book 10 Principles for Spiritual Parenting by Mimi Doe.
All of us have children at different ages and stages. My daughter, Lila, turned 2 in January. She is just now starting to be able to verbally communicate her emotions with help from us. Usually I have to read her signs and expressions to really know and understand what she is feeling. This chapter reminded me that I need to take the time to really do that in order to gain Lila’s trust and understanding that I am here for her and will help her through whatever she may be going through.
“How can we as parents be aware of our children’s unique spiritual dimension and create an environment that encourages and supports it?”
“The trick is to be aware and accepting-listen-so that our children feel free to bring their inside feelings, visions, and perspectives out.”
Listening is not always about hearing words, but also observing and acknowledging emotions and reactions. Now that Lila is starting to communicate I am learning how she reacts for each emotion. She loves to act so she is able to dramatically act like she is sad, scared or happy. Which I think is great because that shows me that she knows the difference between emotions and when to use them. She doesn’t get frustrated too much, but when she does we work through the situation together and she calms down pretty quickly. I also let her know that I am seeing or understanding her emotion at the moment so she’s knows that I am acknowledging how she feels and that she has my attention.
Sometimes it’s hard in our busy lives to always be actively or mindfully listening. Meaning that we are there in the present with 100% of our attention in that moment. I find myself on the computer, reading or watching tv when Lila will come up to me to get my attention. It’s very easy to say “in a minute”, “I’ll be right there”, or worse, acknowledge her without even looking at her. This is something I’m trying to stop. I know I won’t be able to give her 100% at every moment she wants it, but I can sure try to stop dismissing her.
This chapter also talks about respecting your child’s intuition.
“Children can often feel the energy, moods, and intentions of others.”
“Giving your child permission to trust his intuitive voice validates his internal wisdom and helps him to access this knowledge.”
I am very supportive of Lila’s intuition when it comes to her meeting new people, whether it be adults or other children. She is sensitive too others moods and energy. She responds so differently to people that it surprises me sometimes. She’s never to shy to give a little wave or say “hi”, but when it comes to going up to people she very is cautious. I had mentioned in a previous post that she ran up to an elderly lady and gave her a hug. THAT surprised me. Yet there are certain family members that she is very stand-offish with. I find that the people she is cautious with just have to take the time to build their trust with her and eventually she will go to them. I never force her go up to someone or hug someone if she doesn’t want to. I allow her to have the time and space she needs until she is comfortable. This is my way of listening to her needs and showing her I support her.
“Listening validates children and gives them trust in themselves-they feel special and secure in their own uniqueness when they are heard. Listening lets kids know their feelings and ideas are okay, and gives them an opportunity to express their emotions instead of stuffing them away.”
“To honor a child’s feeling is to honor her spirit.”