talk less and listen more

Last night I needed to talk less and listen more.

My family knows that I am not at my best at night. I am tired and sensitive. And yet it’s at bedtime that my children often want to talk. Sometimes I can barely handle it. I get more easily triggered. I don’t respond well. I take their moods, anxieties, frustrations, etc waaaaay too personally. 

Last night we were getting into bed and my son shared some things with me and I just about lost it.  I was triggered. He is a tween and we are negotiating privileges, freedom, expectations, and responsibilities. 

Last night I realized that I had a choice of the role I was going to play. Was I going to play the “fixer”, the “this is how it’s going down” role…or just…be the “listener”?  

I ended up choosing the “overwhelmed mom” role and the “listen here!” role rather than what I could’ve done had I been more resourced (ie talking in the morning): the listener. 

He just wanted someone to listen to him – to say, “I hear you” and “That sounds important to you” and “Let’s keep talking about this.”  

In these moments, we just have to forgive ourselves and begin again. So this morning when my son woke up, I was much more resourced!  I said to my son, “I was so not resourced enough last night to handle things well.  I’m much more able to just listen today.  Would you share with me again what you were talking about last night?”

He wanted to still share.  And so I listened.  I wanted to justify, rationalize, and lecture! But I just listened.

“This sounds important to you,” I said at one point.  “Thank you for sharing,” I said at the end, “We’ll come up with a plan.”  He hugged me.  He got ready for school. I could feel the connection – the resonance — between us.  Yes, we would have another talk about the specifics of his request, but this morning, we laid the foundation for that talk:  just listening and regarding him and regarding his opinions as important.

That’s what is often called for with or young ones, tweens and teens. 

Just listening. 

Just saying, “I’m listening.”

Just reflecting, “This sounds important to you.”

And “thank you for sharing.”  

Listen more. Talk less. 

It reinforces our connection.  It communicates regard.  I sends the message, “I see you and you matter.”  Every single one of us desires that same kind of regard!  And our tweens and teens do, too.

Here’s what you can do to Talk Less and Listen More:
  1. Listen.  Stop talking.  Don’t interrupt.  Don’t justify.
  2. Reflect their feelings.
  3. Show them with your body language that you are present.
  4. Tell them that what they are sharing is important.

Your opinion and final decision may not change.  That’s fine.  They may not “get” what they want (the video game that “everyone else has,” to stay up late, a new cell phone). But you will be giving them what they NEED – regard and presence.

We want our kiddos to keep coming to us and sharing with us – the little stuff and the big stuff. They need to know they’ll be heard and regarded.   When we talk less and listen more, we show our children that they matter, they belong, and they are loved. 

So this morning, I’m much more resourced to just listen.  That’s what we’ll be doing when our tween wakes up.


*If you are a parent, a professional, or a person who influences the life of a child, check out Regarding Our Children, my on-demand course you can get full access to immediately.  This is all about setting our children up to thrive.  I bring in my clinical, trauma-informed expertise working with clients; my decades of mindfulness; and my experience being “in the trenches” as a mom to share with you researched-backed ways to instill a sense of resilience in your child, empathy, compassion, a growth mindset, and how to support them to be “leaders of their own lives.”  You can find out more here:



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