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Listening when others speak about our children: use it to teach and guide

Depending on second hand informaiton about our kids has now more than ever become a parenting tool we need to start taking notice of and acting upon.

We all like to think that our kids are good kids. And I’m sure that most of us do have good kids. But sometimes good kids can still do bad stuff. They can make mistakes and they can even hurt peole.

We also know kids are different around their friends than they are around their parents. Not always, but certainly sometimes. And not always worse. Just different. Do your parents know every little thing you did when you were growing up?

We also like to think we know how our kids would always behave or respond to certain situations. But sometimes they surprise us. I know I am not the only parent to have ever said “That is so unlike him” or “I never thought he would do that”.

So how does that help us if we can never be really certain of what they will do?

We can listen. We can listen to the teachers when they talk of kids getting bullied online or in the schoolyard. We can listen when another parent in the playgroung talks about a bad experiene their child has had on a social networking site. We can listen when someone tells us that our child may have been involved in a situation that started as a joke and got out of hand.

I have heard numerous accounts of parents going to other parents and having them flat out refuse to listen. “My kids would never do that”. “It must have been someone else who egged them on”. “They would have only been joking” “I have told them about not saying nasty things online so I know it wouldn’t be them”.

Certainly we would hope that schools would be able to get parties together to help resolve matters, particularly problems that arise on social media. But that is not always the case. Or more frighteningly there are often parents simply not willing to listen.

It is great to have faith in your chidren and your own child rearing abilities. However. We need to take stock and listen and use these moments as teachable moments. Whether your child has been an instigator, a participator in a conversation or even an onlooker, there is always going to be a lesson. A reminder of how easy it is to get caught up in the moment. How easy it is to get egged on by others. How easy it is to forget about being kind, even if only for a second.

So whether or not your child is involved or not, if you hear about an incident be sure to use it as a chance to discuss and to learn. If you are being told your child is involved, there is a fair chance they are or there is going to be some form of evidence, so be mindful of how you respond.  Discuss other ways it could have been handled. Discuss where it went wrong. Listening to what is going on around you and your kids can only help to prevent them from making mistakes later on where they have no one to defend them and the consequences may be even more damaging.

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. A great reminder to listen to our kids and others, we don’t have it all right! Others often have an insight that might help us be better parents, it takes an open mind to listen to that! Thanks for sharing.

  2. When Miss 17 was younger, she went through the “bitchy” stage so many girls do – I was horrified to hear some of the ways she spoke to / treated her friends. As you said, she was basically a good kid and this was a side of her I hadn’t seen before! So yes, hard as it is, we have to keep an open mind AND the lines of communication open with our kids as much as possible.

    Visiting today from #teamIBOT xxx

  3. You are right, it’s hard to be objective when we have to hear what others have to say about our children let alone ourselves. Good to be reminded that we need to keep an open mind. Thanks

  4. Such a great post! It’s amazing how different kids are at school to how they are at home. I remember having a parent teacher interview with a parent once and telling her how wonderful her son was and at the very end of the interview she said… are you sure we are talking about the same child? Hehe I had a good laugh! And it is also so important to keep an open mind when you hear a story about your child as those stories can get so twisted!! 🙂

  5. Love this Martine, and you are so right. Whenever I hear something said about my child I take it on board, because it could be true. I always talk to them about it first though, and then go from there. I don’t want to be a parent who is blind to their child’s faults, but one who helps them make them stronger.

  6. This is so VERY true, I recently had an encounter where my friend would just not see what was right in front of her, and still doesn’t. One day she might, but sadly I won’t be there to be her friend anymore. x

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