Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don't listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won't tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.
~Catherine M. Wallace~
While the grouchy grammarian may not like this quote, it is a good thought over all. I don't think that enough parents take the time to actually spend time with their children. There is a difference between being with your child and BEING WITH YOUR CHILD. I attended a birthday party this weekend(we actually attended a few) where I watched some dads act like, well, dads. I saw children begging for attention and receiving nothing more than a smile or a pat on the head. Yes, you attended a birthday party with your kids, but you failed to spend time with them when they really needed it. I watched a little boy pee on the porch because his dad failed to notice the signs (grabbing crotch, running for the door, and saying "potty, potty, potty"). The poor little boy was embarrassed. Having been raised with a dad like that I felt sorry for him and knew the feeling of not being heard by a parent a little too well. It hurts and is pretty damaging in the long term. Fortunately I have an amazing mother. She always listened and you can ask any friend and they will tell you "She tells her mom EVERYTHING!" and I do. I think that some people find it weird or maybe even frustrating that my mom knows everything about my life and the lives of my friends. She was always there for me and listened to my every word. She remembers things I told her 12 years ago that I don't even remember. When you tell a parent everything it really makes you think about your actions. I would think "geez, I don't want my mom to know about this". It kept me out of a lot of trouble.
I don't mean to come off preachy, but I think this issue is "screaming" to be discussed. In a time of smart phones, lap tops, and televisions that are on all day kids aren't getting the attention they need. I also think that moms need a little adult conversation as well. I have friends whose kids come into a room of adults mid conversation and start going "Mom, mom, mooooommmmmmm!" I don't think you need to sacrifice adult time, but you need to stop and say "hey, I am interested in what you have to say, but you need to wait your turn." I heard that many times growing up. It shows that you heard them, but they need to know that there is a time and a place for everything.
Now I don't want you to walk away from this thinking that I have zero tolerance for parents who don't follow their kids around asking them how they feel about everything they see. I think you should give your kids their space to explore and then they can come back and tell you about all the neat things they saw and learned. I just want parents to put down their electronic device and see how amazing their children are. Kids are so funny and smart and if you don't pay attention they just try harder to get attention and no one likes that kid or even worse that grown up. Eeeek! You know the type of person you see/hear at a party that is talking really loud and trying to get the attention of everyone in the room. That is the child of negligent parents. They are still screaming to be heard. Don't let your child become that adult.
So, go, stop reading this blog and go see what your kids are up to. Find out what the funniest thing they did today was. They will appreciate it. I know I still do at 26 years old.