Real Communication- Listen Don’t Speak

Why do my son or daughter not understand what I am trying to do sometimes, that I want them to be happy, that I want everything for them and the best for them? That sentence is the best example I can think of as to why communication breaks down between parents and children, between couples, between friends or even strangers. They aren’t communicating, they are talking and not listening. In the best of situations, where people care about each other or share common values or interests, if someone’s focus is on being heard they are are missing 50% of everything and blowing 100% of a chance at actual communication. And it becomes infinitely harder to have actual, productive communication between strangers or people who disagree on something when the above approach is taken. Yet we “communicate” this way every day, all of us, me included. Try this, the next time you go to say something to someone, ask a question. Don’t do it in a passive aggressive way or try to say something in the form of a question when you think you already know the answer or want to make a point (I’m guilty, we all do it). I am learning as the parent of adult children, took me long enough, to ask and listen more than talk. Insert giant eye roll here from my adult children. Seriously, statements like, “What is going to make you most happy?” “Do you have a goal you want to reach?” It’s not what I want for them anymore, and really it never was, it was about giving them the skills and the support to find what they want for themselves and to get it.

2 thoughts on “Real Communication- Listen Don’t Speak

  1. On a related note, I always think that the fact that your kids both have incredible emotional intelligence (as well as other kinds of intelligence) is a testament to the way they were raised!


    1. That’s kind, I’m pretty sure my kids have their intelligence, emotional and otherwise, despite my myriad mistakes as a parent. We do the best we can, hope for the best, and don’t stop trying to improve. Parenthood: the reality that the myth of sisyphus is based on 🙂


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