Here’s another tip for parenting. You ready? This one is good one.
Listen. Listen, listen, listen, listen, listen.
Stop talking, close your mouth, pay attention, and listen. We do all of this thinking about what needs to be done, when we should just listen to our kids. What are their needs? What are they trying to say? If it’s a baby, pay attention. Listen not just with your ears but with with your senses, with your experiences.
There is actually an amazing tool that I found as a new mom called Dunstan Baby Language, which essentially says that all babies have a physiological response when they have different physical needs, and if you can listen to what those needs are, then you can address the needs before they start crying. With my first one I was a little late, but with my daughter, my second one, I used it from the beginning and I don’t think I heard her cry for the first six months of her life. For example, if you hear the sound “eh” that means “burp.” But as new parents all we think is that they want milk, or we don’t exactly know what they want. So Dunstan Baby Language was really helpful.
In general, the idea of listening is understanding that a person is having their own experience in their own world, and you need to get out of your head and figure out what is going on in their world. Put yourself in their shoes. Understand that, of course they don’t want to go to sleep, of course they don’t want to brush their teeth, of course they don’t want to eat their vegetables, of course. That makes sense.
And when you can listen, then all of the sudden you have some more compassion for what it is that they’re experiencing, and when you have compassion, you have connection, and that just makes everything smoother.