Listening Partnerships

Photo (C) Ivan Prole 2009

When two parents exchange listening time, taking turns to talk uninterrupted and without offering advice, it can make a world of difference for each parent. This time becomes a place to share our victories and struggles and a place to mourn our losses and set new goals. Here’s what one mom and Parenting by Connection Instructor noticed about how in-person and distance listening times differed for her.

When I have in-person listening time sessions they are usually preceded by some shopping and maybe a nice lunch on my “half-a-day-off”. By the time I get to my listening time, I am a million miles away from family life and typically use the listening time to work on feelings around non-family issues.

I have found it is a great benefit to have a phone listening time right after the children have gone to sleep. This is the worst time of my “bad days” when I am exhausted, tight and furious.

When my listening partner called, I would already be in my re-stimulated state and ready to work on how much I hated being a mom sometimes and how I felt like my life was being stolen from me! I would also be more able to access feelings about my marriage which had been rocky until December of 2008.

During this time, I would cry deeply. Afterward I felt much more relaxed and much more loving toward my children. I was full of energy and ideas on how to restructure my everyday life to have the energy needed for being a mom.

Now, the times I get so frustrated have dramatically decreased. It is interesting that the pros of having somebody listen in-person can sometimes be outweighed by the pros of having someone listen from a distance during a time when one is right in the midst of an emotional episode.

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