When my oldest daughter started middle school she was having a really rough time adjusting to the new social environment. She was feeling out of place, and resisted the whole ‘teen-scene’. She missed her elementary school terribly, especially being able to play at recess and not just sit and eat. She was overwhelmed by the way the kids around her were talking and acting, and was determined to stay a ‘little kid’ as long as possible. She was also struggling with her social status. She used to be pretty popular back in her elementary school, and now she felt like no one was noticing her.
I know that the best way for me to help her is by listening to her and staying as close as possible, but hearing all her stories brought back memories of my own experiences back in middle school. My memory of that time period was not very vivid and did not include many details, but the general feel of it all was a big YUK! Although I tried to stay focused on my daughter’s experiences, I wasn’t doing a very effective job. As my daughter had explained it to my husband, “I can’t really talk to mom right now. She keeps asking me questions and she always seems worried. I would rather talk to you right now.”
I took her comments very seriously, and it made me realize that I needed to get some listening time for myself to work on my own middle school experience. After I did that I was able to listen to my daughter much more open mindedly, without being triggered to compare her to myself. I could look at her experience as unique, and be able to let her deal with it her own way.
After about two or three months of a much more effective StayListening, I had to go to visit my family in Israel and my daughters stayed home with their dad. Before I left my daughter was telling me she didn’t want me to leave because, “No one understands me better than you do.” So I guess I was doing something right there…
– Ravid Aisenman Abramsohn, Certified Parenting by Connection Instructor in Israel
You can read more about StayListening in the Listening to Children Series by Patty Wipfler.
– Join Certified Instructor Ravid Aisenman Abrahmsohn in one of her classes / teleseminars:
1) Building Emotional Understanding Online starting February 27. Register now.