Last night granny joined us for dinner. It was a rushed affair and I was irritable to start, but it was the only night we could find to do some admin she needed done, and so she came and our regular crazy evening routine turned to an ‘irregular’ crazy chaos.
But as we sat at dinner, and I watched granny give her full attention to the boys’ stories and silliness, I was struck by how different it is to be an outsider at our table. She was amazing. She listened, and laughed at the right places. She found their antics amusing and was obviously delighted with their silliness, and I thought to myself how ‘sad’ it is that we find these things annoying all too often.
I also remembered how, that afternoon, I had sat at a friend’s house with her 2 small kids and laughed at their silliness, and giggled when they said “bum bum” or even farted. And yet, with mine, depending on the mood, I often tell them to just stop being silly… or to stop being gross.
At what point do we stop listening to our own kids? Even the romance of our relationships seems to dwindle… when in the beginning we find silliness endearing and fun, somewhere along the way it becomes irritating and annoying.
So as I sat there watching granny, I realised that, as with any relationship, staying interested in our children (which of course makes them feel more valuable and important to us… which in turn aids in cooperation with us) requires work. Kids are just small adults, and have the same – if not more – needs as adults. They need to feel heard and loved and important and valued… and all we have to do to make them feel that is to just listen.