Thursday, November 6, 2014

Talking and Listening to Our Children: Finding that Special Place

Written by, Bernadyn Nettles

For some people, driving in the car alone can be a quiet place to think and reflect.  Do you ever think about where your child has his moments of thought and reflection? I didn't think too much about it and as a parent, I just hope it's not during class! I now know the answer, however, after many discussions I have had with my son during our car rides.

Parenting, Family


Talking It Out In the Car

My son is six and in the first grade.  He is a curious little boy who asks interesting questions.  I love that about him but sometimes, they do catch me off guard.  His questions keep me on my toes and I often have to be ready to answer some thought-provoking ones which I’m sure is the same for other parents.  
The car is now where many of our important discussions occur so that is why our drives home after school have become what I like to call, “Mommy Cab Discussions.”   The ride is about a 20-30 minute ride home, depending on traffic.  We’ve had many interesting discussions as he tells me about his school day, reads signs that we pass or he just discusses whatever is on his mind at the moment.
I enjoy our time together and am glad we have a place where we can have interesting talks and heart-to-heart discussions.

Here’s some examples of topics we’ve discussed that he brings up while in the Mommy Cab:

  • "What happens when a bully wants you to be a bully?"
  • While reading store and restaurant signs in the car, he sometimes sees signs that aren’t always appropriate.  Recently, he saw one particular sign and asked, “What’s that place?  It says, cold drinks and hot women."
  • "I want to join the Army but first, I’ll finish high school and go to college."
  • "What will happen when you die?  Who’s going to take care of me?  Do I have to be Lyla’s daddy?" (Lyla is his little sister).
  • "Lyla, who are you going to live with when you grow up?"  (He asked his little sister this question to explain to her what her answer should be.  It was an unexpected answer that was funny, thoughtful and needed correcting!)
  • "Mommy, when you die, what happens to your cell phone?"
  • "What if a bad guy comes to our house?  Will the police put them under arrest?"
  • "Did you know bad guys are scared of police because police are strong?"           
  • "My friend has two mommies and daddies.  Can I have two mommies and daddies?"
  • "When Barack Orama (that’s how he says, “Obama”), dies, I will be Barack Orama."

"Dear Driver..."  

Mommy Cab Discussions

Hmmm...what is it about sitting in the back of a car that makes people want to talk?

I think it makes sense that he talks about these things while in the car because there aren’t any distractions like the tablet, video games or TV to suck up his attention like there is at home.  I appreciate that he is so open with me and asks me questions to help him grow and better understand how the world works.  

Even though the questions can be a little intimidating to answer and I don’t always have the answers, I love just talking things out with him.  I work at home right now but one day, we may not have these Mommy Cab Discussions.  He may start taking the bus or finding another way to go to and from school.

Another place we have small talks is before bedtime.  We sit in his room for a few minutes after reading a story and just talk.  It helps him wind down and get things off his chest. 

There are some days in the car when our son doesn’t feel like talking much.  He’ll openly let me know when I try to start up a conversation by saying, “Can we just listen to music?”

Unless it’s really important, this Mommy Cab driver is happy with just listening to music, too.

Listening to Our Children 

I think it’s important to take time to listen and talk with your children, no matter what age they are and to have a special place to do so.

Because of these discussions we frequently have in the car, it inspired me to start a series on my blog to post some of these conversations so if you’re interested in hearing all about it, I invite you to come along and join us for the ride!

Check back to see how these conversations unfold!

Where do you and your little ones have talks?  I’d love to hear all about it!

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