We all love our kids. That’s a given. And we cherish every minute we spend with them, and every word they utter.
Because then there are these times: your child is telling you an intricately detailed, almost Dickensian tale about what happened when the tuck shop ran out of Icey Poles. This happens almost every day of your life. At some point in the one-sided conversation they accuse you, Mummm! You’re not even listening!
And they’re right – you are most definitely not listening. That’s a problem because your child knows you too well, and can detect when you’re fake listening.
But we’ve got your back. Next time, try out these tips to help you to your fake listening to the next level, so that your cherub feels heard and special, but your sanity is saved.
1. Fake eye contact.
One of the biggest give-aways that you could not possibly care less about the impassioned monologue your child is delivering about Minecraft is your eye contact.
Even if you’re driving.
But believe it or not, faking eye contact is possible. Simply look directly at your child between the eyes, or at their nose, every so often.
They’ll be so engrossed in their speech that there’s an excellent chance you can get away with that level of engagement without being accused of not looking at them, never listening, and not caring – as you dedicate your entire life to their needs.
2. Change your tone.
All parents know that non-committal “mmhms” often don’t cut it, but then neither does a monotone “Oh my God, that’s terrible!”
We suggest practising the same words of pretend interest – “Wow, that sounds great!” – but changing the tone. That is easily accomplished if you have a go-to thought:
Bad things: think of never being allowed to sleep past 6am for the rest of your life: “That is truly devastating!”