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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Facebook wisdom says… I say…

Sometimes, I think I’m the “anti-attachment parent.”  But there’s some real drivel out there, isn’t there???  So here’s the “wisdom” going around on facebook this evening:

“Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what.  If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.”  - Catherine M. Wallace

These comments are from the 121 commenters who mostly adore with this quote, eagerly, as it were:

  • So true!
  • Oh my this is wonderful
  • Wonderful advice 4 sure:))
  • I have to borrow this... it is way to true to pass by.
  • so true....always listened to my kids!
  • VERY WISE ADVICE!!!!
  • Now that's somethin to think about
  • AMEN.
  • It is a wonderful feeling knowing that my sons have been able to talk with me their entire lives. I say we grew up together! I was a young mom & my sons are close in age! We are truly Blessed
  • So true!!

Only one smart person – and it wasn’t me – piped up,

  • Cute, but unrealistic. They won't tell you the big stuff when they're grown, unless there's no way around it..8^}

And here’s my curmudgeonly knee-jerk reaction, which I didn’t post – I saved it for you guys, right here and now:

  • Actually, it's not going to kill our kids, or even scar them, or make them hate us, to say, "wait a second."  Listen eagerly, yes, but don't let them interrupt OR believe that they are the centre of the universe.  These eager moments are indeed precious, fleeting and few… but so are the opportunities to build their character.

What do YOU think?  Why does this quote alarm me the way it does???

10 comments:

Mary said...

I'm with you!!!

sweetcrunchyjewy said...

One of my first thoughts was, "take this advice if you want self-centered children who think they are the only people in the universe." Seriously, sometimes kids need to wait their turn to speak.

Know what else? There are things I don't want to listen to from my kids - like Lashon Hara. Where better to learn how to guard your speech than at home?

Yael Resnick said...

Its a good quote. It doesn't say parents should drop everything every time a child wants to say something. But listen, yes. Sometimes you say, "I would love to hear what you have to say, in just a moment. Please wait patiently."

I don't think you're disagreeing with the quote. I think you're reading something into it that's not there...

Yael Resnick said...

Also, speaking as someone who did, as a teen, tell my parents "the big stuff" (although not necessarily ALL the big stuff...), and as the parent of teens who talk to me - I disagree with the commenter who said that's just not going to happen. It definitely does!

Jennifer in MamaLand said...

@Yael - I agree with you, and that's what I do: listen attentively, treat my kids with respect. But I think many parents will see that and say, "yeah, I better drop everything for this kid." I see parents who do that EVERY day. I know parents who call that "attachment" parenting, as if having your own life is neglect. :-(
Perhaps I am reacting more to what I've seen in practice than to the quote itself.

Yael Resnick said...

I do think your reaction is more to what you've seen some parents do than to the quote itself. And I agree with you - based on what you're actually reacting to - but taken at face value (which I did and I think most people seemed to have done), the quote is really true.

Put aside the when & how of listening, and the ways parents overdo it sometimes with putting the focus on their children, etc. Just the simple fact of listening to what children have to say, even when we adults think it's silly little stuff... that is really important.

And even if it really does seem like childish drivel to you, you can still say, "It sounds like that is really important to you," and stifle the urge to say, "Stop bothering me with your nonsense - can't you see I'm doing something important?"

Which, I think, is really what this quote is trying to say...

Shira said...

I agree with Yael, but also want to add that sometimes it can LOOK like a parent drops everything to hear their child at all costs (in case you were talking about someone like me ;) when actually, I just prioritize my kid's need to talk nearly as highly as my husband, if he needed to talk to me. And I try to teach them gently about the polite way to interrupt a conversation, and other manners. What I don't do, or expect from them, is the instant ability to just stop talking and not interrupt because I've told them so 100 times already. I gently remind them that they've interrupted, I turn to whoever I"m talking to, and I ask them politely if they'd mind waiting a minute... just like I'd do with one adult interrupting another adult conversation. Or... that's what I TRY to do anyhow, most of the time.

Shira said...

I agree with Yael, but also want to add that sometimes it can LOOK like a parent drops everything to hear their child at all costs (in case you were talking about someone like me ;) when actually, I just prioritize my kid's need to talk nearly as highly as my husband, if he needed to talk to me. And I try to teach them gently about the polite way to interrupt a conversation, and other manners. What I don't do, or expect from them, is the instant ability to just stop talking and not interrupt because I've told them so 100 times already. I gently remind them that they've interrupted, I turn to whoever I"m talking to, and I ask them politely if they'd mind waiting a minute... just like I'd do with one adult interrupting another adult conversation. Or... that's what I TRY to do anyhow, most of the time.

Jennifer in MamaLand said...

Shira: It's funny how everybody thinks I'm talking about them. I've watched you parent for a few years now; this isn't you. I mostly don't hang out with the folks whose parenting style drives me up the wall. :-)

Anonymous said...

I googled my mom's quote after I found out it was making the rounds on the internet, and I found my way to this blog. If you actually read the full quote from my mom's article, you will find it's a bit more nuanced. And, by the way, as an adult, I do talk to my mom frequently, about both the big and little things in my life. Here is the full quote: "Do Not Listen To Your Children. Let them be in their own worlds, undisturbed. It is not healthy for persons the age of parents to get involved in arguments about what kind of birthday cake the Care Bears should make for He-Man, nor what a Beanie Baby might have in common with a Mighty Morphin Power Ranger of the same color. Nor do parents need to know all the epithets that have been devised for the sixth-grade math teacher, nor what insults were traded in the boy's locker room after track practice at the high school. Listen earnestly to anything they want to tell you, no matter what. If you don't listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won't tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff. But unless they are talking to you, stay out of it. Indiscriminate eavesdropping is a threat to parental sanity."