One day my oldest daughter (11 at the time), had a friend over after school. I don’t usually approve of that since they have to finish their homework before they can play with friends, but both girls promised me they had very little homework, and they said they would finish it first thing. I gave in to that argument, and decided to give it a try.
When we first came home they had a snack, and then they were off to do their homework. After a short while they both said they had finished their homework, and went off to play. After the friend left, we had some time before dinner, and I felt like my daughter hadn’t had any Special Time in a couple of days, so I offered to do some. We had a short time together but she was mostly interested in the TV and not really connected to me. After our time was over, I went to the kitchen to start dinner preparations.
As I was making the food, she came and sat on the counter right next to me and said, “I’m such a bad girl. There you are doing all those nice things for me, and I always act terribly, not even thanking you, and lying to you all the time…” I looked at her as she was saying that, and told her that she is a great kid, and I love her a lot. I asked her gently if there was some more homework to be done, and she said, crying, that she hadn’t actually finished the homework she was working on with her friend. I told her that I know that she is a responsible kid, and that she could take care of her homework if she wanted to.
Even though we didn’t get very connected during our Special Time, she could sense my willingness, my love and the closeness that I was offering her. All of these made her feel uneasy with not saying the truth about her homework, but still she felt safe enough to step forward and say the actual truth. I could also feel how telling the truth, and crying about it, helped her feel much more calm and peaceful. Special Time really does build safety and closeness that last.
– 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.
– Certified Instructor Ravid Aisenman Abrahmsohn