There’s something about the scent of chalk and the expectation of learning new things that excites everyone in the family. It can also be a challenging time for kids, bringing new highs and lows as they readjust to school life.

As parents, it’s important to listen to your children to provide the support they need during this time. Actively listening to someone helps them hear themselves as they open up and become transparent as to what’s really on their hearts. It also teaches us, the listener, to empathize and be more effective listeners as we take the time to listen to someone as they share their dreams, their past and their reality that they’re currently experiencing.

Support your kids this school year by listening to and supporting them as they express the following.

Dreams For The Future

When we talk about the future, we don’t always talk with hard details and facts in mind. We are not always sure of how to proceed or what the cost is to see our dream come to fulfillment. Sometimes we just need to dream out loud. We need to explore possibilities of what we could be, what we could do or where we could go in life. And when someone we love listens to our dreams, it gives us a sense of these dreams being validated.

When we listen to our children dream out loud as to what they might do in life, it’s best to allow them to dream as outrageously as children are apt to do. Allow them to explore possibilities without dashing their dreams by the constraints of finances, loans or degrees. You can, though, propose some helpful questions, like, “That sounds so interesting. Do you think you might need an education to do that?” or, “What an exciting time that would be. Would you invite a friend to go or would you love to experience that by yourself?”

Listening to their dreams might just reignite your passion for your own dreams that have been put to the side.

Stories Of The Past

Sharing about past hurts can be a painful but cathartic experience. By hearing ourselves speak out loud about a painful experience, we can gain new insight about how we are doing in processing the experience, whether we are in a framework of forgiveness or battling bitterness.

Listening to someone work through a trauma is a sensitive ministry. Families can provide this safe place for children to work through their painful pasts. But families often are the seed bed of where these hurts occur. The people we love we also inadvertently hurt at times.

When your child wants to share about how you have inadvertently hurt them, it’s easy to get sensitive or dismissive. If we learn to listen to someone’s accounting of their painful experience without jumping to accusation or self-vindication, we can help bring closure, healing and empowerment. We can learn to say “Please forgive me” and mean it. Then, our families become places of forgiveness and grace.

Reality In The Present

Where you are right now is not where you are going to stay. But we can get stuck with self-doubt, fear, anxiety or depression. In order to go forward, we have to talk about what we are feeling. Direct answers are not always needed; we just need to unburden ourselves.

Children often need a loved one to listen as they navigate their way out of the dark tunnel of confusion. As we listen to a child who is confused about an important life choice or overwhelmed by the demands of school, it’s best to let them unburden themselves and fully emote. When they’ve had a chance to do that, reach out to them lovingly with a gentle hand, a word of prayer lifting their need up to the heavenly Father, and a strong hug. In other words, it’s not often a specific answer that they need from you, but the reassurance of love and your presence as they work through their reality.

God provides constant reassurance to us and never demeans us for asking for His love and comfort. He provides a listening ear 24/7 and He truly takes in all that we say when we pray. If we listen to one another, we will learn how to love and reassure the way God does. He is with us, He is for us and He will never forsake us. Listen to that powerful truth right now and make it your goal that your family will listen and love, just like that.

You may also be interested in 5 Things That Could Destroy Your Relationship With Your Children

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