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Listening to the Heart of Your Kids

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Cross Radio
May 18, 2022 6:00 am

Listening to the Heart of Your Kids

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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May 18, 2022 6:00 am

Becky Harling offers practical ways you can intentionally listen to your child. From learning to give her a voice to the importance of non-verbal communication to teaching him how to make wise decisions, you’ll see how listening is one of the most important components of parenting.

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I never one of our not having a meltdown and I was chiming with my family from getting the hang finally came in and can affect the 19th of Wyoming just pulled child on his lap and he just said tell me more, and really her meltdown had nothing to do with it had everything to do with depression. She was facing full pressure from row friends pressure from all things and Steve just kept saying, tell me more hon. I love you. Tell me more. Becky Harling is with us today on Focus on the Family, though she is going to offer insights on how you can better listen to your children, your hostess focus president Dr. Jim Daly and Don John Fuller, John, here's a newsflash as a parent you know it your children are different. Different. I was just thinking about that everything I had that June I have the return, Troy, Trent, was that strong-willed could do no take out the garbage.

Why what we need to take up the story goes okay, thanks, I'll do it your dad know from anything else I can do for you is different is, but they have another thing in common.

I think more so and that is the desire to be heard.

The they wouldn't phrase it that way, but to be heard and respected some adult might say kids don't need to hear that they don't need to express themselves. They just need to do what I told you right now actually mom and dad, that's not the way to go today were to talk about how to listen so your kids will talk with you notices the communication 101. It really bears repeating. If you've heard this kind of thing before, but most of us, we just don't intuitively lean in. That's why we have Becky Harling here with us to do that. She's a speaker, author of mom and grandmother of 14 grandkids and a she's a certified coach with the John Maxwell team and has written a number of books today will be exploring some of the content in her book how to listen so your kids will talk and that we encourage you to get a copy of that the link is in the episode notes or give us a call 800 K word family. Becky, welcome to Focus on the Family easier with the first time I was here years ago, not as a guest on the show recording some content for media publishers. That's fantastic, hey, you're the mother of four kids, so I'm sure you got this listening thing down. You've written a book now so that I should ask for you, but you also send the book you know it's not always smooth and easy even for person who is trying to do it perfectly, so your daughter Stephanie.

She kinda challenger right out of the gate and you are at your wits and not every moms leaning in and out sound like my life. So what happened was Stephanie why did you reach the end of your rope with her well. Stuff like this adorable little girl she was when I call our negotiator.

I do know that I could say one thing and she would say well what about that now and it was one week where she was negotiating a lot. I mean I want to be clear perfectly and that's why I wrote but you know we write to our deepest need and really times where I said no too quickly because I didn't have time, you know we'd be on our way out the door and Steph would have a brilliant idea need be like no, we have to go to school now.

Now that are not one we just been a rough week and I didn't feel like I had handled it well and I just never going before the Lord, saying, Lord, I am messing up this child. She's getting need a lifetime of therapy because it's me. He's got to show me what to do. Client the Lord spoke interesting message to me. He said give her a voice point Lord, are you sure about the and he was like her voice, and I realized I needed to change not staff God had wired staff with a strong personality.

He had big plans for her. You know I had thought about this. Looking at the book in the prep by the team but that sounds like the Lord don't don't prevent these kids from coming to me even told that the disciples let them come to me. Let them talk with me disciples return to keep the kids away from that funny. And here's the Lord telling you you give her voice let her come to you. Let her talk with you.

Tina specialist, Christian parents, sometimes we overemphasize update. That's what we've all been taught before, became parents write you teach them to obey anything that think they're saying is connection with your kids because if they have a deeper connection with you.

There are actually more likely to follow Jesus. Well, that's program talk about for the whole program really that's the main thing I I'm laughing because of the negotiator thing. I remember when Tori when he rarely got into trouble. Trent was his lawyer, Ivan said that one time I said, Troy, are you paying Trent as your attorney and they're both laughing 86. But that was the way would be getting into trouble but for something and Trent would step up and said, but that lay them all outlets can you leave the room with you about your brother's misbehavior was more compliant and Steph would negotiate on her will, in fact, years later, you and your oldest daughter. If you're a good listener, how old was she when you asked the question 1819, what were you thinking that was good though.

You asked the question, my good listener.

What did she say she said while as long plus honestly guys I was expecting rave reviews because I can't doubt will sometimes you listen while she said that you interrupt me a lot. You diving with your own story. Sometimes a lot of advice and your advice. I want to feel hurt, and I remember thinking wow. Nothing like honesty right and even with the age difference and that older daughter and stuff eight years. So okay did you learn a lot from that older daughter what's her name her name is Bethany. So Bethany and you and that experience we able to process that digested and then apply it with your younger daughters that I older kids get the worst of you as an adult. This you apologize a lot right. You're right, we just didn't know what we were doing that you do learn along the way that you have to keep learning, even now that my kids are adults asked for forgiveness. The whole thing your husband Steve had a couple goals in mind as you were raising your children. I think this is really good.

I resonated with this in the book. What were those two goals and how does this tie into the idea of listening. Yeah, we had two goals with our kids. We wanted them to grow up to love Jesus. Clearly we couldn't control that we wanted then to feel connected to us and he feel heard by us and not man that was something we could control unit we wanted them to feel comfortable coming to us that man as parents we needed to keep evaluating and considering how we listen when you speak to that hope that your children love Jesus.

That is a paradigm shift in your parenting because then you won't be as intense.

We need boundaries we talk about that a focus you need the children to behave. That's why that's the proper thing but it is an outcome.

Yeah, the first thing is loving the Lord and I think that's a absolute right first goal and then how to get there so it's not behavior that your four it's the heart timing for and then out of that. Hopefully the right behavior will be there but mom and dad will be perfect and so don't expect that perfection but work on the heart of the child when their teenagers are choosing more rightly than wrongly, you can be proud of that.

That's a good thing but but just to concentrate on the behavior is a mess.

Yes, it is because you know I was go back to that parable of the product call you now and G says risk fonts or the father's response to that wayward kid spoke a lot to me in my parenting journey back and saying that my rules my house you know you now right and and forget everything is about that connection getting it back to listening involves more than just your ears. The actual function of listening as you identify several types of nonverbal communication that's critical and actually you cite a study in there that show the 6070% of communication is nonverbal. So for those of us that think it's only speaking and hearing is address the issue of the other nonverbal's. What are the I think your child needs to see eyes light up when you walk in a room. You know I did once did a whole research study on how joy develops in human brain, and it turns out that from the moment the child anything when the infant sees your eyes light up to see that you're developing the joy center and lots of developing the manner that strikes me because my parenting experience and even being around other young children, particularly six month old. My mobile when you do peekaboo in amazing how consistent they giggle and laugh at that. That's kinda what you just doing that brings joy to them the giggling. I can't express that they can speak to it.

But when you show your face and hide your face and show your face with a big smile. For some reason I love that building can action with that because bonding is happening in the eye contact with the infant. Now you mention in your book and experience you had with your daughter where she was, say, why are you so angry with me now, like I'm not when it all looked in the mirror what bearing right right I go for a goal or I write or whatever and what is that my face was expressing emotion and feeling. So I literally went in front of the mirror and practice :-) jokes about that angry mother left, right, and I didn't want to have that. Yeah, what would you say the parent feels like they can't help themselves that shocked face.

I think you give them the inside to get into a darker location teenagers you know if you are opening up to you and you appear shocked shut down immediately. Right. So I found with our kids when they were teens. The best place to talk to them, are you know where I would avoid a shocked face because I was looking ahead, they were looking ahead at where I was driving and they would pour out their heart and even if I sell so I really have to work on that as a parent and will open up yeah Becky let me ask you about your grandson Noah.

I think he had some kind of explosive reaction. I'm glad to hear your very normal family by the way, what did little sweetened know I prices.

I like man I want to say three at the time was little and he has a little sister 20 months younger, and he'd worked really hard on an art project and little sister got jealous or whatever, and came up and scribble all over it and he was so and so mom took little sister off. Noah flipped the chair and was yelling and I think Nila do you know how to say the word frustrated and he stopped for a minute and looked at me and I said say I'm frustrated and he said I frustrated.later that day I was explaining to him you know when somebody does something like that it's okay to feel frustrated sustained or frustrated. Let me ask you what you raising your kids and this is a tender part of your book while you're raising your kids.

Maybe you can let us know how old the kids were at this time you got diagnosed with cancer. I did this, maybe you know I was thinking about is Jean. I have not had to face the uniqueness of that. My mom died of cancer when I was nine and you know there was a lot of blanks for me. She didn't have the capacity to really tell me I think back then it was like let's not tell the little one so I was in a vacuum.

The whole time and she just died and nobody help me understand what was happening. How did you speak to your kids, and that when help give them a voice when you're going through your cancer cannot sell a couple things come to mind. I remember the diagnosis very well and my husband and I gathered the kids the two oldest were teens and Emily had like a 12-year-old and 99-year-olds and silly, gathered and explained that I had cancer. We explain what was going to happen. As far as the treatment but I think a profound moment for me was after you know I had had an initial six hour surgery a lot of anesthesia number on your brain and I just remember feeling really really tired after that for weeks and I remember Carrie our youngest calling up with me on the couch and just cuddling into me and saying I miss the old mommy that had energy you now and in my heart I felt really do you know I wanted to say come on Lord do a miracle here anymore energy but I knew in that moment, I really needed to honor Carrie's hearings because I wanted her to keep being able to talk right now and so I said to her, you know what sweetie I miss that old mommy to and I'm sorry this is hard, and I really had to. I had a lot of follow-up conversations actually carry out that because she was the youngest. During that cancer journey you now and so had to listen to a lot of her feelings about that.

Not I so appreciate that as the recipient as the child, and I would encourage parents to the age-appropriate way your children informed it so much better even with a health issue, but in an age-appropriate way you can help them emotionally process by talking with them. Let me let me turn a little bit to the older child kind of the teen years, maybe going into junior high was just pick the most difficult part of life. How do you begin to shift like when dealing with her nine-year-old daughter. Now the 13-year-old or the 12-year-old preadolescent, what, how are you encouraging them to have a voice when you could care less if mama said yes.

Whatever you know there again it goes back your central goal as a parent is not to correct behavior to develop connection, said that that child and to pray for your child that they hopefully will grow up with an openness to connection with Jesus. They have to keep that in the forefront of your thinking is I mean well-known junior high years are wonky years right and go up and down and I remember one of our daughters having acids meltdown. It was the beginning of high school I think so a little older than junior high and I was trying to listen but I found myself getting defensive and it was just escalating. She is having his massive meltdown. I could sing but I didn't mean to come across the land meant to come across this way, and finally Steve came in and he said, can I take over and I was like I only just pulled that child on his lap and he just said tell me more, and really well. Her meltdown had nothing to do with me had everything to do with the pressure she was facing school pressure from girlfriends pressure for all things and Steve just kept saying, tell me more hon. I love you. Tell me more, and she did and I think that's an important concept for parents to get you in your really hitting were I wanted the conversation to go at some point in time with the let go and let her children make mistakes. I think that's always the fear of our parenting because I think we feel like it reflects upon us right how well BBA gases are identity yeah but in that context.

We do have to let go. Your son JJ experience. I think something similar with his homework. Let's go to the in junior high.

What happened that you talk to the beginning of the show the how kids are all different so we had our first born Bethany who did everything by the rules and is now 9800 JJ. He was just more like you want to kill myself or those good grades like Bethany does when I can get by getting a 90 with two minutes of work you now as the party organizer so you know I just remember there was a season where he was really loving soccer and football and recesses everything for a kid and you know if you forgot your homework you had to give up part of recess and you know I didn't want my kids to suffer like any parent out there right I was wanted to dive in and rescue them in my childhood so I took his homework and on the third day I took his homework and school like I like those that attend-year-old boy needs recess so he said no, no, when I couldn't take it anymore. He leaves on the table, he gives up recess. You know what harsh at all. It was just letting him suffer the consequences of his choices and you know after that he didn't forget. And that's again.

That's a great picture of what we do speak to that same idea as the kids get older now that 15-year-old male that is not entered. What is that look like through the different ages and stages, especially the teen years. You know I have to be present enough to hear what's going on. I remember our youngest daughter going to a party you now and she was old enough to be driving so she drove herself to the party and then parents apparently weren't home and a bunch guys came in with a keg of beer and the next morning she told me while they brought in beer and I said no again, watching my face to not act shocked and well-liked. She said I grabbed my keys and said I'm not here, and I like were going to the mall. You can skip school today you can buy a T-shirt. You want under so much pressure that you did the right thing and I'm so proud of you and I want to reward this because you could have given you now and she didn't and I think we do want to reward those kind of behaviors you know there's going to be the person listening right now maybe their daughter, their son didn't choose the right thing right.

Did you have one of those experiences as far as drinking was very very thankful for reflecting on writing the book and putting yourself in the position even if your kids didn't. How would you respond or how do you think you would respond to think what's important for parents to now is that God loves your child even more than you do, and he will not let go. There are going to be consequences if your child drinks and they drive there going to get a DUI right and I I had a friend whose daughter has a teammate the wrong choice, drank and ended up having to spend a night in the jail and my friend didn't recognize numbers and never picked up her phone, but that experience changed her daughter's life is a lot yeah yeah that God will never stop pursuing your child matter how dark it in that way that brings me to the point in the important point to teach your kids that God is listening yes and they can connect with the Lord. How do you feel you built that awareness and your children. You know, we prayed all the time about everything.

In fact, the staff for adult kids and Dale. They know that every morning I'm on my knees at 5 AM and so their texting me prayer requests said you know why they're calling saying he mounting. Pray that this week we modeled that, and we encouraged then you can talk to God about anything. Remember going back to the cancer journey that Carrie and I remember seeing her journal on the floor. The night that we told them I had cancer and she had written in her journal. Dear God, I was thought nothing bad could happen to my mom, and now she has cancer. How could you let this happen, and it was such a profound prayer on my little nine-year-old part and I remember laying in bed with her saying you know God is not, leave us, it may feel like he's not listening. Right now, but he is listening and teaching your kids that God is the God who bends down to listen that he's always there. He's always ready to listen. Let's end here. So the beginning that listening involves more than just her ears.

It's that nonverbal but we talked about and all of these other methods that you've mentioned along the way. It's really about listening with our hearts right. That's the way to think about that her heart is the main mechanism for listening is the biology of the year. Speak to the mom or dad feel like they may have blown it. You know the kids are older maybe in their 20s now and if they asked the question that you are honest enough to answer. You know how good a listener in my that child adult child might so your horrible listener. I never felt like you listen to me at all. All you did was lecture me and that would be a hard thing to hear is apparent what would you say to them, how can they change? I think open the conversation and now Steve and I sat down with our four adult kids and their spouses like maybe half a bell and said okay guys, what did we do right.

What did we do wrong to a kid having a told us honestly but to the kids you know what we did right in their eyes. The best we apologize for the wrong right so that's great you yeah you make mistakes so if you ask your kids how did I do is a listener and they come back with. I never felt heard by you.

You didn't spend enough time with me rose preoccupied. What I would say is ask the Holy Spirit for the grace to apologize and then say to that child or that adult this relationship is so important to me. I'm in a work on this because I want you to know I love and cherish you and yes I'm sorry for what I did but this relationship is so important to me that I'll do whatever it takes to men that connection with you that is so good I recent conversation I had with my oldest friend who said to me, which was an awesome thing to hear you decide that I'm so excited about our new relationship being 21 and how you treat me like an adult set. It's really fun to have these conversations with you that's that's terrific that feels my respect for my love for him and then at the end of the day that's what every parent wants to be able to express.

I hope to there.

Certainly their adult children. I love you I care about you and I'm proud of you. Yeah, that's exactly it, Becky.

This been so good. I know it's a bit lighthearted but it's so serious in its goal to help you learn how to listen to your children and your book how to listen so your kids will talk is a great resource for parents. You know with children of any age to start digging in and making sure they're doing it as best as I possibly can. Not only for their benefit in the relationship with for their child's relationship with the Lord, which is the goal. So, thanks so much for being with us and I was having for the viewers and for the listeners. Get a copy of this great book by Becky it's one of those resources and oversight is often John, but it's because the team is scouring through thousands of books and manuscripts looking for the best of the best and they do a wonderful job identifying those things that they know you know you really need to have in your arsenal and this is one of those resources so support the ministry give us a gift of any amount will send you a copy of Becky's book as our way of saying thank you for being part of the ministry to help other job monthly which is terrific or one-time donate. As you can request your copy of how to listen so your kids will talk all the details are in the show notes.

More give us a call 800 K word for join us again tomorrow is Dr. Oz Guinness helps you learn how to rediscover your faith in our chaotic culture on behalf of Jim Daly of the entire team.

Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting him back once again help you and your family thrive.

I am Jim Daly the Supreme Court will soon make a significant decision on abortion.

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