from the West Wing

As you know, I am a big fan of Love and Logic. I recently read an article that I thought I would share with you today. It’s entitled “Listenin Means Love.”

“How do wise parents and educators respond when their kids try to argue and manipulate? The most effective repeat an empathetic one-liner, such as “I love you too much to argue” or “I know” or “What did I say?” They also resist the urge to think too deeply about what the child is saying.   Do we do this when kids are hurting? Do we employ this strategy when they’re respectfully expressing their opinions? No! We listen.   When I ask people to describe the parents and teachers they respected the most as kids, they almost always mention something like, “They were always there to listen.”               

Listening means love. It means that we sincerely care about another’s opinions and emotions.

Here’s the problem: Many of us have a hard time listening when someone around us is emotional or is disagreeing with us. That’s why it’s helpful to have a few little sincere statements or questions in our back pockets:

  • Tell me more.
  • Help me understand.
  • What would you like to see here?
  • How long have you felt this way?

The next time one of your kids expresses their opinion…or their hurt…be sure to lend a sincere and empathetic ear, showing loving interest by using the points above. Remember: The more you listen to them, the more likely they’ll listen to you. If the tone turns disrespectful or manipulative, you can always switch gears and repeat, “I love you too much to argue” or “I’ll listen when your voice sounds calm like mine.”

For more tips on communicating and empathizing with your children, get your hands on Avoiding Power Struggles with Kids.”

Dr. Charles Fay

I think these words can apply in more situations than just our students or children. I think we can all benefit from learning to listen to those around us.

Thanks for listening.


Mrs. West