I share the (quite common) belief that if you don’t have a habit of open and continual communication with your kids, then neither will they with you. I don’t intend to simplify the syndrome typical to many kids who, upon reaching teenage years, think that the last (cool) person on earth to talk to is their mom. What I do hope though, is as my children grow, and grow away from me, when their sense of independence and new influences begin to take precedence, that they will still talk to me about what’s important to them and what might be a worry them.
It makes perfect sense to me that if we don’t discuss the small stuff in their lives, then it’s unlikely that they will come to me with the big stuff. I do think about how powerless and how much of a failure I would feel if I was to be the last person to know about a major issue impacting one of my children. There are so many issues affecting our youth today and in the media, we often see examples of a parent who has found out too late, to be able to help their child through some crisis.
I am certainly as guilty as the next parent of inattentive listening (and I am not saying that parents or children suffering is the fault of a mom who did not listen) but I do know that there have been occasions when something has diverted my attention when my child has been telling me something — like the baby cries, the phone rings, a sibling interrupts … It would be all too easy to leave the child with the impression that something else was more important to me than hearing what they have to say.
I really like the idea of Prime Time with my kids. Ideally when they first get in from school and they are usually eager to relay what’s gone on in their day, or right before bed time when they are relaxed enough to reflect to their days more deeply. Just as TV advertising executives know when the prime time viewing peak is, to achieve maximum audience reach, so do we moms! It can vary from person to personality, but we can pick our moment with each little individual. I know one mom whose child likes to get home, wind down, have a bite and a drink before she’s relaxed and ready to share about her day (maybe that little girl is an executive in the making!)
Prime Time is when I give my undivided attention and really listen to what’s being shared with me. I know my kids value and enjoy this time as much as I do now and, I hope that in future years, our present Prime Time habit will stand us in good stead — for whatever life holds for each of us.