As our children age, their sharing with us shrinks, and our need to understand them grows. Misunderstandings mount from lack of communication. They want freedoms we aren’t ready to give, and resulting arguments weary us.
How do we break barriers and listen to each other? One son initiated a method that I later learned was common. He brought in his teddy bear as a mediator.
One evening, Teddy* came and said, “Grandperson, Bob* is upset with you?”
“Why?” I asked.
“He thinks you are unfair.”
“How am I unfair?”
The conversation continued as we patiently listened to each other.
A friend tried this with her son and reported, “It works because you can’t fuss at a teddy bear, and it doesn’t fuss back.”
I shared my experience with another friend. “It is not a new trick,” she said, “but I am always amazed that it works.”
Was this a gimmick? I don’t think so. I think it was a way of breaking bad communication patterns. Variety helped us listen carefully because talking through a teddy bear was unpredictable. And fun.
What listening techniques have you explored?