Do you listen to your children, or to yourself?

Posted on October 28, 2014 · Posted in Communication, Parenting

“Hey mom, Jeremy is upset.”


“Okay Sarah, I’ll be right there.”


The real story here is what mom is saying to herself in her mind. “Here we go again.  Sarah is always making Jeremy upset. I can’t finish anything without somebody having an issue. I’ll get to it in a moment.”


“Dad, I’m really sorry I messed up and forgot to cut the grass. I’ll get to it right after lunch. Sorry dad.”


“Aaron, when is this pattern going to change? You need to start being responsible. Don’t make promises you can’t keep!”


What dad is thinking is his mind: “I can’t believe this kid. Always an excuse. At least I didn’t yell at him. I just hope he gets his act together before its too late. I’m getting really tired of this.”


Both of these parents were too busy listening to themselves instead of listening to their children. The Bible says that it is both foolish and shameful to answer before listening. Proverbs 18:13. This is what both of these parents were doing. 


Sarah’s mom didn’t give herself the opportunity to find out what was really going on with Jeremy. She just made an assumption based on previous events. She didn’t really know what the problem was or the real reason behind Jeremy’s upset. By listening to herself instead of her children she is not investing in them to really understand their day-to-day, minute-by-minute struggles, not to mention that she might have missed that Jeremy was actually in some serious trouble.


Aaron’s dad didn’t realize that his son had spent the morning brooding about his own personal struggles with sin instead of cutting the grass. All Dad knew was that there was grass that needed to be cut. Aaron needed someone to understand why he was tempted by pornography and to help him get out of this trap. However, it takes a relationship that is strong to accomplish that. Dad was too busy listening to himself to make that happen.


The Bible’s straight-forward commands are there for a reason. As Moses says, these commands are our life. They help us lead our children to life. Ask God to help you listen more to your kids and less to yourself. 

Jay Younts
Jay Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is the author of Everyday Talk and other materials on parenting. He has been teaching and speaking on parenting issues for 30 years. Jay and his wife, Ruth, live in Fountain Inn, South Carolina. He serves as a ruling elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and Ruth have five adult children.