Sunday, April 5, 2009

For real, for real

Being a parent is hard. Really hard. But one of the most challenging lessons I've learned in this role is that you HAVE to listen to your babies. Most parents, me included, grew up in the tradition of children are to be seen; not heard. But today, that is more of a cliche than a value or tradition. The kids today are demanding to be heard. And if you don't listen to them, you surely will when you are speaking with them across the table at the juvenile detention center. Or you'll listen to them when they are screaming across the room "you don't care about me."

I work with families who have teens with varying issues. But I've noticed the link that binds them together is the no-one's-listening factor. And when I speak of listening, I'm not talking about the adult-type of listening. I'm speaking of listening...for solutions. For instance, I know a teen who wants to be a journalist. But when I questioned her about her career choice, her answer was "cause everybody says I write good." So I asked her if SHE thought she wrote well. Her response: "Yeah, but I just like the way it looks."

Calligraphy classes maybe?

That's the type of listening I'm talking about. If she likes the way her writing looks, then she should have the opportunity to learn more about that. Maybe she'll stay out of trouble because she's involved in something SHE likes.

When we talk to our kids, we have to ask questions about what they are saying. Don't take anything at face value because most kids don't truly know how to verbalize their feelings. Most kids know that they are hurting, but don't understand this is regular kid-stuff.

We (parents) have got to step-up to the plate. Remember when our teachers told us to put on our listening ears? This is just a small lesson that they understood would be a valuable trait.

Why such an odd post? I'm working on a Cleveland-based project that will have parents, teachers, and communities finally listening to the generation that we will ultimately pass our problems on to. And while jotting down notes for the proposal, body of work, and possible funding sources, I became upset that something so simple is so disregarded.

Stay peace


Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

I'm back.

This post links in with mine... & you're right adults have to listen to children... and as you say, not just hear the words.

My parents never gave the time of day to my creative side... it was looked on as a waste of time. If I had have shown interest in working in a factory or laying bricks they would have been all ears. And its the same for many kids from poorer families... their creativity is looked at as a weakness. From the womb we're being convinced, "that kind of life isn't for OUR kind". It's a tragedy.

Anyway, as long as there's people like you... there's hope.

I've reserved your space in my comments thread, you do the same for me.

Take care, Shane.

Poetic Genesis said...

Hey Shane,

I was thinking the same thing after I wrote this and visited your post! LOL

Thanks for the compliment and I'm glad you truly understand what I'm speaking about.

The teens I'm working with have a lot on their plates and the parents are sometimes questioning why I get more cooperation out of the teens than they do. And I tell them it's because I listen to them. And being nonjudgmental helps BIG time :)

And what some parents don't understand is it takes more then providing the basic needs to raise a child. We get so consumed with our problems that we become neglectful of our children. We forget to nurture THEIR dreams and even before that, half of us don't know what our children are good at or want to be in life.

Now I'm not proclaiming listening is the answer to every child's woes (lawd knows I listen to mine but my oldest is hell on wheels), but its a small step in helping kids cope with their stress.

I done went off on a tangent when what I really wanted to say was glad you stopped

speak with you soon and stay peace

Poetic Genesis said...

BTW Shane

I definitely have space for you!

Yasmin said...

Thanks for the sound advice and the reminder sis...and the sounder we start listening to our kids the better I believe it will be for many of us...present company included. ;)

Poetic Genesis said...

Thanks for stopping by Yas and you're welcome. I'm learning it's the smallest things that make the biggest impact, so it's only right that I share and reaffirm.

Phyllis said...

Great post -- points well taken for all of us with or without children. Good luck with your project!

Dera Williams said...

Stop, look and listen--- and do for our kids. They have so much to learn and so much pride. Great post. Good to have you back and good luck with your project.

Angelia Vernon Menchan said...

we do have to listen and we also have to talk with them, not at them...


Poetic Genesis said...

Hey Phyllis

Thanks much! Yes, it's good information for those without children as well. People who mentor, teach, and support kids who aren't their own can benefit from this as well. Thanks for stopping by!

Poetic Genesis said...

Hey Dera,

Thanks sis! Stop, look, and listen is an excellent way to put it. Thanks for stopping by!

Poetic Genesis said...

Hey Mama Deep,

Yes, we must also speak with them. That's another important point. I think it all starts with practicing the art of suggestion instead of demanding. Let's face it, even kids with the most well-intentioned parents go awry ;) But we must listen, (and as you pointed out) speak with them, and remain persistent!

Thanks for stopping by!

Uranie said...

Great post...

'Cilla said...

Hey Sis...
You don't have to tell me twice. Being an older parent with a teenage Man-child has been a challenge. I pray I can stay away from the RUM bottle dailey (as you can tell from a few of my blogs)

Thanks for sharing :-)

Zetta Brown said...

Tell it like it is. I'm not a parent, but I'm guilty of blowing off the kids of today because I'm not trying to listen. I gotta work on my patience. Hopefully your project will not only make a difference, but be adopted in other places too.

Poetic Genesis said...

Hey Uranie! Thanks for stopping by sis.

Poetic Genesis said...

Hey Cilla

I SOOOO feel you on the rum

Thanks for stopping by!

Poetic Genesis said...

Hey Zetta,

Yeah, listen to the You never know, you may even find your next main character in them!

Thanks for stopping by

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