I will never claim to know it all when it comes to parenting. I’m not an expert. And although I have read some parenting books over the years, the best thing I ever did was rely on God and spend time on my knees in prayer!
I believe each child is unique and each parent has the responsibility of spending as much time as possible in prayer asking God to lead them in each aspect of parenting. Parenting philosophies change with each generation, but God is a God that does not change! He is there waiting for us to come to Him so that He can whisper in our ears what He wants us to hear—even if the only words He whispers are: “Be patient. I am working!”
That being said, I have a few observations when it comes to getting our kids to listen…especially boys!
In my experience with my own very active (now grown) boy, this issue was multifaceted. I needed to consider his age and maturity level first. Disciplining the mind (and ears!) is a lifelong challenge. It was not something that I was able to demand of him. I had to be committed to being a part of the long-haul nurturing and training process WITH him.
I also needed to consider the “boy brain”! We, as moms, will never understand the way boys/men think, but we can ask questions and become enlightened. My son, especially when he was young, was all over the place! His attention span was SHORT, he was easily distracted, and he was usually busy creating or contemplating something in his head. So, even though it was a challenge, I needed to work to get my son to focus and listen when I spoke to him.
In my opinion, the biggest hindrance to our boys listening isn’t the “boy brain” and the distractions. It isn’t even their maturity level, although these things are definitely a piece of the puzzle. I believe that WE can be the biggest hindrance to our children learning to really listen. We must take time to evaluate and be honest about how we are communicating with them.
Ask yourself these questions:
1. Do I shout out orders?
2. Do I take the time to speak gently and give them time to switch their focus from what they are doing onto whatever it is I want to say?
3. Am I patient as they are growing and maturing?
4. Do I raise my voice or yell in order to get their attention?
5. Do I treat them, and speak to them, in the same way that I want to be treated and spoken to?
6. Do I respond to them in anger and frustration?
7. Is there something that I am doing that might be causing my kids to NOT respect me, therefore making it harder for them to want hear what I say?
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
When you forget to view your sons as PEOPLE, responding to them harshly and impatiently barking out orders, you are teaching them to tune you out. You could actually be causing them to become frustrated, fearful, and even resentful. Our sons are people who need nurturing, time to learn and mature, and who need us to take the time to treat them with respect and patience. The way in which we interact with them affects them and is used to train them in how they are going to respond, listen, and interact in the future.
SOMETHING TO PRAY
Father, help me to remember that the Biblical truths I strive to apply when communicating with other people should be applied to how I communicate with my own children. Please show me if I am missing the mark in how I relate to my precious son. Please show me how I can better interact with the precious people that you have entrusted to my care!
EXTRA VERSES TO PRAY
1 Corinthians 13 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Titus 1:8 “Be hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.”
Thank you; these are really good reminders as I parent teen boys. A seasoned mother of sons told me if she could do it over, she would talk less and pray more. That–and the book The Power of a praying Parent by Stormie Omartian–has helped me greatly. Surrendering our sons to the Lord is what has brought peace to my heart, and our home.