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Listening to Your Kids

Have you ever rushed your kids out the door on a school day when they were trying to tell you something, chiding them for dragging their feet? Have you ever interrupted them while they were telling you about their school day because you were distracted by something else?

In business, we’re taught to listen to our clients’ needs and learn everything we can about them in order to serve them better. If we can understand their points of view, the result is less frustration and ultimately happier clients. Why, then, can’t we extend this same courtesy to our children? Everyone wants to be heard and know that his or her opinions are valued. School-age kids spend much of their day away from us, and most are eager to share their experiences. Think about how excited you are to share good news or how great it feels to vent to an attentive listener who cares when you’ve had a tough day.

As our kids get older, the opinions of their peers become more important than those of their parents. Listen now while they still value your opinion and want to talk to you. You only get one shot with your kids. Listen to them. Let them know they’re heard. Put yourself in their shoes, and you’ll have no regrets.

Amy Pate is the happily married mother of two teenage sons and a preteen daughter. Her flexible part-time jobs as a copy editor and paralegal allow her to stay involved in her kids’ busy lives while still maintaining her sanity.