Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The best time to talk to your kids

Here’s a little tip for you Mothers with young children who are reading The Portable Mother.

Friends ask me, “Do you call Pablo at college?”
Well, yes and no.
If I have something I need to communicate to him –airplane ticket info, loan application, important family news, I call him, give him the info, and then we chat a little and hang up. Mission accomplished.

But if I call him because I want to chat or to hear his voice, what I’ll get is a yawn, a disinterest, or he’s busy.

It reminded me of when my kids were little and I would pick them up at school and want to hear about their day. They’d get into the car and I’d say brightly, “So how was school?”


“What’d you do today?”

“Not much.”

Here I wanted to hear about their day, and they were not interested. After a few tries I realized: They’ve been in school all day. They are tired. They are up to here with school. The last thing they want to talk about is school.

Later on in the day, when I’d be driving them to a piano lesson or taking them to buy some school supplies…they’d start talking and everything came out. Because they were ready to talk.

The best time to talk to your kids? When they want to talk. Not when you want to talk.

So, make them want to talk by leaving them alone a little. I’ve learned to wait for a good chat. When Pablo wants to talk, he’ll call me. It’s then that he’s loving, amenable, talkative, and sharing.

When I go online and see that Pablo is online I stifle the natural urge to immediately message “Hi!” I don’t want him to feel stalked by his mother.

Rather, I wait. He sees I’m online. If he wants, he’ll message me.

And more often than not, he does. “Hi!” pops up on my screen. And I’m the happiest Mother ever.

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