a guest post from Kate Orson of Listening to Tears
This post is all about listening partnerships. If you’re new to the concept you might want to check out my introductory article here first.
How do you feel when your children say, “Play with me!” Are you filled with excitement and joy, and rush over, saying, “Yes, of course!” If this is the case every time, then you don’t need to read this post. ?
For the rest of us, the words “Play with me!” can sometimes fill us with dread. It can be really hard to get down to our child’s level when we have chores to do, and adult things to take care of.
This post was inspired by an amazing Ted Talk I watched yesterday. You may have seen it already. It’s where TV producer and writer Shonda Rhimes, talks about how she decided to say yes when her children asked to play with her, every, single time. This video had me in tears. I so resonated with how she loved to work and write. I totally related to how hard she found it to play, and how she kept trying to come back to love, and simply being in the moment with her children.
I’m really glad I found Hand in Hand parenting, and the support they have given me to rediscover my natural inner joy to play, and have fun. But in a work-dominated to society it’s easy to lose touch with our ability to play.
Luckily there is a listening cure that we can use over and over again to recover our joy in playing.
So, when you’re doing listening time talk about how much you dislike playing. Have a vent and moan about how much you hate it. Say all those thoughts uncensored that you wish you didn’t have. Talk about how boring you find the play. Tell your listening partner how you feel when your child says, ”play with me!” Express it all.
Then go back to the past, ask yourself (or your listening partner can ask you?) What was it like when you were young? Who played with you? Did you ever have adult one-one attention? Who did you want to play with you more? – This is a really important step because our feelings about play don’t just relate to the present. They aren’t just about our busy lives. And they probably aren’t really to do with how ‘boring’ our child’s choice of play are. Often that’s more to do with the fact that our own past hurts are being triggered – all the times we wished the adults around us could be more playful and full of joy.
You might laugh, you might cry. You might just talk and vent and moan. Just follow where your mind leads and you will shed those feelings of reluctance to play.
Try this for ten minutes and then go and find your child. How does it feel to play with them now after being able to express your feelings?
Repeat this every time the feelings start building up about disliking playing. When we can release all our feelings we will discover our true inner nature, and our natural love of playing.
Imagine how amazing it would be if we had enough time to get all those feelings out! Then we really could be that parent leaping for joy at the opportunity to play with our child.
Good luck! I’d love to hear how it goes.
Need more help? Read 5 Tips For Having Fun Playing With Your Kids
Would you like to develop your listening skills and learn more about how listening time can be applied to all our family challenges. Check out Hand in Hand parenting’s self study course, Building A Listening Partnership.
Kate Orson is a Hand in Hand Parenting Instructor and mother to a 4-year-old daughter. Originally from the UK, she now lives in Basel, Switzerland. She is the author of Tears Heal, How To Listen To Our Children. Connect with Kate on Facebook or follow her blog Listening To Tears.