Huh, what did you say? is my answer when my son is telling me something. Mama always advises me to listen more to my boys because she knows I am a chatterbox. The temptation to talk more is great so I made a list of 14 advantages of listening to make you and me shut up more.
You learn more. – This is an important skill as a student, as an adult and as a parent/carer. The advice from the elders is rich with wisdom.There is information overload on the internet and with the right choices of videos on YouTube, audio on Podcasts and even the songs you listen to – GREAT IDEAS can be learned that you can apply in your life.
You can help someone in distress just by listening. It is a way of showing one’s love. You don’t have to provide a solution to their problems. Just being there and listen can improve their well-being. It is a bonus when after the conversation, a solution may come up.
Child to parent: You don’t care, you are not listening to me! ( blah blah)
Partner to partner: I TOLD you about it but you were not listening to me! ( blah blah)
Boss to subordinates: I instructed you to do this but you were not listening! ( blah blah)
Subordinates to Boss: (grumble, grumble..) If only our boss will just listen! ( blah blah)
If you just paid attention in the first place, these people will not be MAD.period.
You understand more other people.
WHY DO THEY BEHAVE THAT WAY? is the common question one is asking when you encounter persons different from you. Listening opens your mind to the reason why they speak, act, think and decide like that. You can adapt well when you run into them.
There are fewer chances of saying something foolish.
In my lifetime, I said things better left unsaid. It was TACTLESS. Looking back, I cringe every time it crosses my mind. I couldn’t take it back.
When you listen more, it creates an opportunity to stop yourself from saying things you will regret. Your future self will thank you for that.
Worst case scenario… There is a fire in the building. The staff said to go to the left side of the building.. you turned right. Holy moly.
Another worst-case scenario: The instruction was to cut the blue wire, you chose red. BOOM. The end.
Improving your listening skills is necessary to pass an English test.
Do you need a visa or prefer to pursue higher education overseas? One of the requirements is to pass the IELTS or the International English Language Testing System. Part of the exam is the listening test. No matter how good you are in reading, writing and speaking, if you fail the listening test, you need to repeat the assessment.
Listening to inspirational or motivational audio or videos can spark something inside you to GET BETTER. Maybe, you reached the point you got tired of being in the dump both literally and metaphorically. Listening to something uplifting can change your attitude towards life in general.
It is quite hard to think effectively when you are blabbering at the same time. Thinking out loud can lead you into deep waters. Listening to the opinions especially during meetings can make you compare the best suggestion that makes sense. Your own beliefs may be challenged and your mind may reconsider.
You need to listen so that others will LISTEN TO YOU TOO.
Have you wondered why the people around you are not LISTENING to what you say? Maybe you are chatting, nagging, harassing or gossiping so much that you are no longer listening to them.
They got tired of your criticisms and became numb. Their reason is WHY BOTHER? Mum never listened anyway. She is always RIGHT.
Making a habit to listen cultivates your skill in picking up the ideas NOT BEING SAID.
You know you could hear alarm bells when the person says “ I’M FINE.”
You can distinguish the feelings of the person who says “GREAT!” with a cheerful countenance compared to someone who mentions “GREAT!” but continuously mumbling and rolling their eyes.
Body language and the tone of voice are just added hints to the person’s sentiments at the moment. A know-how in listening can equip you with the right questions to ask and advice to say if they want it.
To sum it up, I believe that listening is an important skill that should be taught at home and school. To impress someone in a gathering, the focus is too much on speaking… how do you come across? In fact, a listener can leave a huge impact because he/she was patient enough to make time to pay attention.
I am a work in progress in refining my talent in listening.(Note: I talk a lot.) I could already see the difference in my life when my option was to listen. There is JOY in it. I should have shut up more when I was younger.
This article lists 15 Lessons I learned so far in raising three primary school-age boys. Each grey hair on my head is a remembrance for the lessons I gathered.
Do not promise anything that you cannot do.
I remembered I promised my son that we will go bowling when winter comes. The winter here in Australia is June to August. It was too cold to go to the beach or the parks so my son kept asking me WHEN ARE WE GOING?
It was a promise I kept postponing because we had school activities, sports events, a family member got sick, just plain tired and wanted to stay home. The last straw was when my son said: ” Mum, YOU PROMISED.”
My integrity was at stake. If I wouldn’t do this, my son will have TRUST ISSUES with me. It was the last day of winter 31st of August and we finally went and had a wonderful time bowling.
From then on, I seldom make promises. I realized boys have a strong memory when you give your word you will do it. They will GRILL you if you don’t deliver.
Whatever you do to the eldest, do it as well with the other sons.
No matter what you say, it is what you do that they focus on. Example, I bought candies for my three sons. It should always be DIVIDED BY THREE. All of them looked at me opening the packet and I distributed the candies equally. The package has 12 candy packs so there was no issue. There was one that had 10. Each had 3 so who gets the last one? They were waiting who will I give it to. I told them no one. That packet is for dad and mum.
Hugs and kisses should also be given similarly. I thought that the two elder boys were not already into the hug and kiss mum thing. However, my assumption changed when my middle son told me, “You always hug and kiss our youngest brother.” I learned that when I give a hug or kiss to one of them, I should also do it to the other brothers too. No more complaints after that.
If you give them a chore to do, it should always be at the same time. If they play with their gadgets Saturday morning then by the afternoon all of them should be doing their chores like vacuuming the house or folding the clothes. No one should be having a free time while the other one is doing a chore. You don’t want to hear the complaint ” Why is my brother watching TV while I am folding clothes?”
When the decision is a NO, strong resistance will come up. Asserting your parental authority is vital to show to your sons that no matter how many complaints they come up with, your decision will not change.
Saying NO was put to the test when my youngest son had a temper tantrum at the mall. We watched the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles perform on stage. He saw a child in the audience wearing a TMNT costume and I know the price of that was $25. He wanted to have that costume too and I said NO. People around us had curious stares or even judgmental looks why my child was crying so loud. I reasoned out to him we do not need it. It was a luxury for us during that time to buy that costume. No matter what I said, he kept crying. It was one of those days.
We walked all the way to the car park and his cry filled the entire shopping center. When I put his seat belt on, there was still a few tears then came silence. I looked at him and he was fast asleep. When he woke up at home, he already forgot about the costume and hugged me like nothing happened.
Curse words. Driving can make you say swear words especially when the other driver on the road feels he/she owns the entire highway. There was one driver that cut me off on the road and I said ” Oh sh*t!” My son said ” Oh sh*t!” too when he was playing with me.
I didn’t like what I heard. From then one, I tried to control my words even when I was annoyed with other drivers who were tailgating or cutting me off the road.
Words said out of anger. My sons have a nickname for me when I am furious – HULK MUM. I told them, don’t create an opportunity for me to scream at you. They did. After I calmed down, I felt guilty because they don’t deserve that word ever. I couldn’t take it back. I said sorry after that and I explained to them why I was upset. Even at the height of my annoyance, it is not an excuse to say offensive words.
Self-confidence. Primary school children are in the process of developing their self-esteem. They will ask questions if they can do this or they can do that. It is a big deal for my sons when they made a mistake. They take it personally. With the help of their school teacher, my husband and I advise them that we make mistakes too but we learn from them and move on. Love and support the boys.
The presence of the father or father-figure is important.
The presence of the father in their life is necessary because they are learning to become a man. There is something about the company of dads that is so COOL.
Outdoor activities. ” Son, this is how you kick the ball.”
” This is how you hold the basketball.”
” Hold the bat this way.”
” Son, let’s go fishing.”
” Let’s enjoy the outdoors and go hiking and camping!”
” Son, this is the anime we watched when we were young, DRAGON BALL Z.” ( They discussed the characters on and on.)
Son: ” Dad, I can beat you in this video game!”
Dad: ” No, you won’t.”
As mums, we try to be the best that we can be. Still, we cannot teach what we don’t know. We cannot give what we don’t have. Sometimes, conversations are better handled by dads especially when it comes to personal development: physical changes and attraction towards the opposite sex.
Spend time with them. Your presence is more important than the toy.
Even if you bought them a toy, they still want your presence. One time, I was exhausted with all the household chores. My son kept telling me to come and sit with him and play with the train set. I told him I need to lie down for 10 minutes then I can play with him.
He took the kitchen timer and timed me for 10 minutes! While I was lying down in bed, he kept reminding me at the door that I still have 8 minutes to rest. Then, he came again and told me I had still 5 minutes. I wasn’t able to rest because I had reminders by the minute!!!
My boys may not have the most expensive toy but we played board games and ball games that we laughed together, got annoyed with each other (especially Monopoly) but still part of treasured memories looking back.
There is no one perfect strategy for raising boys.
One strategy for disciplining a child may be effective with the eldest son but may not be suitable for the middle child or the youngest one. It is up to the mum to CUSTOMIZE.
Strategy 1: Be brutally frank about it. No holds barred. The truth will wake him up.
Strategy 2: Explain it to the tiniest detail with as much time as possible. Use normal voice. Be patient when answering queries.
Strategy 3: Compromise. If you do this, then you will get that.
Listen to the boys and to older mums because it is a part of learning.
Quotes from the boys
The boys come home from school telling me stories of what happened that day. My eldest told me, ” Mum, I heard someone said, Do not ASSUME because you are making an ASS of U and ME.”
(Second son ) Mum, you are stress-eating again. Why are you eating ice cream again?!
(Youngest son) Mum, I have a joke. ” How did the egg cross the road?”
Older mums than you
Older mums inform me that I have to enjoy my boys while they are still young and while they still prefer my company. There will come a time when they will have their own set of schedules, prefer the company of friends and outdoors than stay home with mum and dad.
They are smarter than you think and can immediately feel that something is not right.
It is better to tell the truth. Explain it to them using age-appropriate words. When they saw me crying, I told them that mum just feels homesick. At least, they wouldn’t think of other out of this world reasons why mum is weeping.
Donot be too hard on yourself.
There will be regrets along the way stabbing yourself with the question “WHY DID I DO THAT?” Sometimes, I have sleepless nights thinking, am I doing the right thing? I have a big responsibility raising young men.
My mother advised me to pray for it. “Yes Shirin, it is challenging raising children. You know now what I felt when I was raising you. Pray for wisdom and strength.”
I recommend the book RAISING BOYS by Steve Biddulph. The part of the book that got stuck in my head is the topic: words we say to our children. If the mum keep saying to her child ” YOU NAUGHTY BOY!”, the child might think ” Yeah, my mum is right. I am a naughty boy.” It is a self-fulfilling prophecy that he is a naughty boy and therefore create more circumstances of proving he is definitely a BAD BOY.
Ask for advice.
As a mum, it is impossible to have the answers all the time. It is better to seek help from a trustworthy family, friend or even a psychologist when the issue is too personal.
Teamwork is necessary between mum and dad.
If you said NO to your sons but their dad answered YES, it creates confusion with whom to follow and believe. PARENTAL AUTHORITY IS CHALLENGED. When the question of the child is a major decision like starting a sports activity or joining a club, dad and mum should have the same answer.
Once, I heard my husband tell the boys, “Your mum will get angry at you.” I didn’t like it because I felt that I was the VILLAIN of the house and he is their best friend forever. Therefore, I told my husband about it. From then on, whenever we discipline the boys, he now says, ” Your mother and I are upset with… ” or ” We didn’t like what you did because…”
Moreover, there are times when one parent should stay cool when the other parent is becoming too emotional: mad, worried, stressed out. The cool parent should be the one talking or listening to the child when the other parent tries to calm down.
Encountering the questions: ” Mum, who is the most handsome?
Am I the coolest?
Isn’t it I am the BEST in playing ________ (fill in the blank)
Questions like these made me feel I was answering a MISS UNIVERSE FINAL QUESTION.
I always tell them ” I do not want to compare. All of you have your own strengths and weaknesses. Remember, Dad and I love all of you.”
Sibling rivalry is real. Having a favorite makes it even worse.
Be specific with your instructions.
If you say ” CLEAN YOUR ROOM.” you will just be disappointed. Give the boys specific instructions because based on my experience, it is more effective. Consulting them and meeting halfway works. The tasks should be:
SMART : Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Time-bound
Fix your bed.
Arrange the books on the bedside table.
Hang your clothes.
Fold the clothes and put them in the drawers.
Put the dirty clothes in the hamper.
The tasks can be done for one hour either Saturday or Sunday depending upon the final negotiations between parent and child.
The reason why I was able to make them help me with the chores is that I told them the TRUTH.
” Boys, I am not getting any younger. I need help with the chores.”
“If you do the chores then you can ( REWARD) ____________ fill in the blank.
Give them options with the rewards so they will do the chore.
I am learning life’s lessons one day at a time as a parent. It will be a new ball game for me when my sons will all be teenagers or young adults. As of this moment, I am sharing with you what I found effective with raising primary school-age boys. My three sons make my life interesting and meaningful. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I was looking at my sonone afternoon while he was watching tv. I realized suddenly that a few months from now, he will be a TEENAGER. Oh goodness, I am TERRIFIED. Don’t tell anyone!
Older mums tell me that when the children are still young, the stress is physical. So true. However, when they become teenagers, the stress becomes MENTAL. Let’s reminisce the good old days of parenthood from baby to primary-school-age children.
Baby to toddler years:
Most mums looked like zombies (including me) because they were sleep deprived with all the crying and the chronic illnesses of coughs, colds or flu of the children. Those were the days when you can’t think straight.
Remember the temper tantrums that will test your patience as a mum? Mums’ ears are so versatile, they can withstand a high pitch scream from a preschooler. Don’t get me started with the running and following your child with hawk eyes like a stalker just to make sure the child is safe. Good luck if you have the chance to sit down and relax!
We LOVE OUR CHILDREN. Hugs, kisses and words like I LOVE YOU MUM were truly appreciated especially if said out of the blue and not just saying sorry.
Kindergarten to Year 6:
The pramand the bag full of diapers, feeding bottles and bibs are out.
It will be the years of FIRST.
First day of school
The child deals with same age children who believe they are entitled to everything
First time to tell you that they cried in school because:
they missed you so much
have an annoying classmate
the everyday routine is gone and change is hard
a lesson is beyond his/her comprehension
they are not good in sports
they are scared
staying at home is better
Physical stress is still there but lessened because they could take care of their personal hygiene. The morning rush of preparing breakfast, putting healthy food on their lunch boxes and taking them to school become a huge part of life to mums or dads. The challenge goes up to the next level when one of the kids gets sick, the school project was forgotten at home or the child doesn’t want to go to school. I am just talking about early morning scenarios!
It will be the years of TRIAL AND ERROR in terms of discipline and teaching. What works out with the eldest child may not apply with the second one and so you try other strategies.
The good news about these years is you can go out and have some fun! You can explain when they did something wrong because they could understand better the situation, unlike the toddler years. You can take them anywhere because they still prefer your company and have a blast family bonding. They can help you now with the basic chores like cleaning the house, folding the clothes and preparing the dinner table.
AND NOW… Let us talk about the troublesome Teenage years. (13-19 years old)
Listening to stories of mums raising teenagers is enough to give me a high blood pressure. It is a NAIL-BITING phenomenon every parent has to go through.
Here are some of the worrisome stories on my list:
Talking back and being disrespectful – This is the most common one. Screaming countless swear words at your parents, throwing random things while the parent is reasoning out with you and slamming the door and keeping everyone out because the teenager hates every family member are just examples.
Keeping secrets – The child who reports to you everything becomes secretive in his/her teens. Your teenager has a boyfriend/ girlfriend or going out on a date without you knowing it.
Got someone pregnant– The teen is still immature and now a father-to-be? Instead of pursuing a career or traveling, a responsibility is at hand.
Drugs- This is one issue that destroys dreams. If the teenager cannot overcome the addiction then it will be a cycle of rehab or even jail.
Depression– Some teenagers are way too competitive either in academics or sports or even both. When they fail, self-esteem gets affected. The feeling of not good enough emerges. They start to shut people out.
Don’t care attitude – Some teenagers don’t care about their studies or what they want to do with their life. Setting a goal is not part of their vocabulary.
All-knowing and too proud– They don’t listen to advice. They think that they already know what’s best for them and their parents’ ideas suck! (quoting a teenager)
Too much alcohol They don’t know when enough is enough.
Addicted to video games/gadgets– They don’t go out of their rooms anymore. Eating together as a family becomes a difficult task. Teenagers become more aggressive and smart-alecks when confronted with too much screen time.
Cyberbullying and bullying at school– There will be schoolmates who will say the most hurtful words, treat you like you don’t exist and post publicly things that may be humiliating on your part. It is quite upsetting when you see it in the news.
Eating disorders– Either the teenager is not eating at all or the teen is eating too much because of insecurities.
Broken hearted -First love was a jerk or a better word – imbecile. The teenager had a difficult time moving on with life.
Studies– The pressure and stress of submitting school requirements may affect the well-being of a teenager.
Choice of friends -The attitude of your teenager changes because of the powerful influence of his/her friends. Your words have no meaning anymore because they rather listen to their friends’ opinion on the matter.
Just plain stupidity– No matter how much words of wisdom you give, it is not a guarantee that they will not make mistakes. They will learn from their blunders but deep inside your heart, it truly hurts to see them that way.
Bodily changes and mood swings – FIGHTS ERUPT DUE TO temper caused by the monthly menstruation of the daughter and the mood triggered by hot flashes of the mum trying to adapt to menopause. A teenager without proper guidance may end up having STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease).
TIME – They love your company and their world revolves around you when they were younger. It becomes the opposite during teenage years because they rather spend time with their friends. You rarely see them home.
Sorry if I made you anxious.
These are only some of the distressing stories every PARENT OF A TEENAGER may or may not encounter. We do not know yet what will be the new challenges a 21st-century teenager has to deal with! It will test our parenting abilities but as we go along the way, I believe we CAN DO IT.
We can be the best mum or dad for our teenager. I do not know all the answers. I am also learning life’s lessons one day at a time! What are the keywords I could leave you with?
For all the parents, carers and guardians out there responsible for teenagers, I am praying for you. May you have more love, wisdom, strength, patience and resilience. Pray for me too because raising three boys is not a piece of cake.
The boys excitedly handed out a second-hand Just Dance 2016 game to me one Sunday afternoon. We tried to play the game out of curiosity. As a mother, here are my ten thoughts about the game.
It is a game that hit me with the reality about the status of my weight.
I love to dance but the moves made me feel my toned fats were too heavy. I was trying to catch my breath after a more than 3-minute song! It was the day I discovered how badly I needed to lose weight. Talking about an in denial mum!
It gave me the opportunity to play a game with the boys.
I have driven for years but the boys kept giving me advice on how to drive in a Mario Kart game.
“Keep your hands still mummy.” Of course, I always fall off the cliff in that game!
Just Dance gave me the chance to shine and receive my 3 or 4 or 5 stars just following the dance steps! I no longer hear the bits of wisdom coming from the boys this time.
It is an alternative to gym exercise.
It takes dedication to go to the gym, run on the treadmill and use the gym equipment until the muscles hurt. I had the option to sweat at the comfort of my home with Just Dance video game. Fit and healthy me soon! Fingers crossed.
Learning the modern dance moves made me feel young.
It really looks cool doing those moves. So this is the kind of dance they are doing now! So what if I am doing it wrong? Dancing with the boys rubbed in me their youthful energy.
I can still appreciate songs of today. My playlist is not limited anymore to the songs of my generation.
It is a game that makes the boys move and dance.
I try to limit the video game time of the boys. I just see them sit around staring at the monitor or television. With this game, it is like inserting exercise in their schedule!
I felt good after dancing the playlist.
I could have eaten a brownie or devouring my favorite chips. NO. I used my 30 minutes to dance. It was the right decision.Raising my heartbeat and sweating away my fats felt sensational.
Based on my experience, you must have a dance buddy to push you to dance and exercise or else, excuses will start rolling in.
It is another way to do family bonding time.
Weekends come by so fast. One way of spending quality time indoors is to play this game. It was fun teasing or challenging the boys to dance a particular song we know the steps are suited for girls. My son remarked “Seriously!” after dancing to Born this Way by Lady Gaga.
Furthermore, you will encounter songs that are easy or difficult to dance with. The good news is if you keep on dancing the same song over and over with family, you will get used to it even if you have two left feet. Watching ourselves and laughing about it is time well spent.
We could sing while waiting for our turn to dance.
While the song is playing, the lyrics are shown at the bottom left corner of the screen. When we are not sure what the word we heard was, we just look at the lyrics and sing our hearts out.
The little technophobe in me is gradually slipping away.
Oh sure, just press x or the circle then go up. Trying to learn how to turn on and off and reading the options was a bit too much for me. Learning how to manipulate technology is one step away from feeling obsolete.
My family gave me Just Dance 2017 for my birthday. Hopefully, I could dance away the food I ate during winter time. Spring is here and it is time for new beginnings and new YOU! Are you with me?