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Being a better parent – Part 2

You’re going to have to listen to your children. 

Now I’ve discovered more recently in the last four or five years since my daughter, my eldest daughter as I’m recording this right now is 11 years of age.

When they get to about six years of age, five, six years of age, they move from an unconscious state to a conscious state.

And without going into detail as a parent you might be aware of this or not, but there is a period where they’re just in the moment, totally in the moment. You’re walking along and they see a leaf and the whole world is that leaf.

Some of you are laughing, you probably know what I’m talking about. 

We always used to have a philosophy when we walked our daughters to school when they were at that age, when they stopped we didn’t drag them away from the leaf, or the butterfly, or the caterpillar because that is their world at that moment.

They are literally building a map of their world. They are in this state. 

Now we are in a different state.

We are like, “Look at the time. Got to get to work, have to go do this. I’ve got to, got to, got to, got to, got to fit into a timescale.”

They have no timescale.

So they’re in that moment.

The challenge we’ve got is as they get older they move from this unconscious state to a semiconscious state. Five, five and a half, six, seven depending on how quickly they mature. There is no race on this, and then they move towards a more conscious state.

So my 11-year-old when she says things now, she’s not just saying it. And we have to be careful. I’ve discovered as a parent that there is a point it’s why, why, why? And you’re answering questions, and there’s lots of noise because they’re discovering the world.

“What about that? What about that?”

And we can get numb to it.

But there is definitely a point when they’re actually speaking from the heart trying to explain what they’re feeling.

Unhappy at school, frustrated with the situation, got an issue with their school friend, bullying, whatever is. And we might ignore it, or we might choose to tune out to it.

It is one thing to actually hear something, it’s another thing to actually listen and hear it at the same time. 

So when you’re listening it’s about not just selective listening but listening and filtering through is there anything there that they’re saying to me that is real.

For us more recently it has been to do with the school system. Now we’ve got our daughter in a very different schooling system to the conventional education system.

But I’m still tuning in to elements of it that she’s not so happy with, or she’s feeling frustrated with and of course as a parent, it’s like, is it just a phase they’re going through?

I’m sure some of you watching this know exactly what I’m talking about.

Or is it real?

How can I distinguish that?

I’ve just learned to really listen and my other half is beautiful. My fiancée is amazing. She’s got this natural way of just tuning into that, and I even have to learn watching how she does it as well. Because being a dad with a daughter it’s very different to being a mum with a daughter.

So that’s my second tip is when they say stuff, particularly when they get to that age where they are aware of things and they are trying to articulate it.

They have got less words than us, less vocabulary, less experience in the world. They’ve got no frame of reference that we might have. And so they blurt things out and say it which might appear to be like, “Oh” and we go don’t worry about it.

But in fact to them it’s like this. To us it might feel like that because we are older and we’ve been through it.

So that has been an amazing experience for me over the last half decade or so, because my daughters are moving into that level of consciousness.

Whereas my youngest daughter who is four and half, she’s still at that butterfly phase where if something hurts itself, she’s like it’s her world. So I need to go and be present in that moment.

She hasn’t got the conscious distinction yet between, for example, the sense of loss or death. Not completely. In that example.

What am I trying to say?

Listen, listen, listen, listen.

Don’t ignore it, look for patterns and then pick up on that. 

I wrote a third thing down here and I actually made some notes to myself because I thought, if I’m going to do this properly I want to make sure that what I think are the most important things are at this stage.

Now we are going to tackle this subject furthermore down the line.

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