In today’s society, it is hard for parents and children to communicate with each other, and this problem has been a focus of people’s attention. After exchanging a few words with each other, they will be unable to say more, and even they will continue the stalemate to such an extent that they see each other as enemies. They are family, but why do they part in discord after speaking very few words? This problem confuses a lot of people. What on earth blocks the communication between parents and children? Wherein lies the problem?
Actually I had such a torment before. My daughter is 18 years old. In the past, we always couldn’t have a good conversation with each other, and sometimes, after exchanging a few words, we would get angry with each other. Then, she would either keep silent and didn’t breathe another word, or glare at me and then ignore me. I thought: Most students nowadays pay little attention to study. They play with their cell phones, or fall in love, or compare with others in dining and clothing. My daughter is at the age when she should learn knowledge and pursue progress. If I don’t have more control over her, and then she slacks off in her studies and is led astray, what should I do? Therefore, I always thought of ways to control her. As long as I found a slight fault with her, I would keep nagging at her; when I knew she didn’t make the grade in school, I always scolded her for I wanted her to study hard and enter into a good college in the future. Sometimes if she didn’t listen to me, I would say to her with an ordering and lecturing tone, “I’m your mother. You must listen to me!” I thought: There is anything wrong in my so-doing and parents are all like that. Is everything I do not for her own good and her success in the future? However, as she got older, not only did she not listen to me, she also didn’t take me seriously. When I spoke to her, she would snort or grunt, or speak no word, or else glare at me and then storm out.
Later, I thought that as my daughter was in the rebellious phase of her youth, I should show more understanding toward her as her mother. She was a young girl, after all, so I should have tolerance for her. However, after a while, I found that she would come straight to the house of our neighbors after school. She talked and laughed with the neighbors, getting along well with them, and moreover, they talked unceasingly. This really annoyed me. I thought: You can talk and laugh even with a neighbor, as if she is your mother. What has she done for you? I have put so much effort into raising you, but you don’t listen to me and even treat me as an enemy. Alas! It is in vain that I have brought you up. When I kept thinking of this, my neighbor even purposely said to me, “You see, your daughter gets along very well with me. Might as well give your daughter to me.” The more she said this, the angrier I got. How come my own daughter had a lot to say to others but she didn’t listen to me—her mother—at all? It’s as if she treats me as her enemy. It really hurt me and I was always distressed for this. Once, I went to attend the parent-teacher conference and asked other parents about this problem. Many of them were like me—they felt that it was so hard to communicate with children, as if they didn’t share a common language, and that what they did and said, and also their viewpoints, were all different, just like there was a barrier between them. Maybe this was the “generation gap” that people often said.
How to resolve the generation gap between my daughter and me had been an anxiety to me. Until recently, I didn’t find the answer in God’s words, “When parents talk down to their child and say, ‘I’m your father (or mother)! You must do as I say!’ the child takes exception to this ‘must’; it’s definitely not an expression of normal humanity. … What causes what the unbelievers call the ‘generation gap’? Isn’t it that the older generation acts high and mighty, and the younger generation doesn’t like them doing so, which produces the estrangement, and leads to the generation gap—isn’t that how it comes about?” “Precisely because a parent always assumes their place as a parent and will not budge from it, keeping that status from which they will not come down, their child becomes at odds with them. A lot of things really result from the parent always assuming their place as such and taking themselves too seriously; they always see themselves as the parent, the elder: ‘Regardless of when, you won’t get escape from your mother’s (or father’s) control; you’ll still have to listen to me. You are my child. The fact of this doesn’t change, regardless of when.’ This viewpoint makes them miserable and wretched, and makes the child miserable and exhausted. Isn’t this the case?” (“What Should One Possess, at the Very Least, to Have Normal Humanity”).
After reading God’s words, I understood the reason why the generation gap emerged between parents and children. It is because we parents always stand in the position of parents to get on with our children, and think that we take great pains to bring them up, so they must be controlled by us and listen to us in all things. Once they are not obedient to us, we will lose our temper with them and never consider their feelings. Actually, children have their own thoughts when encountering something, but because we both have different thoughts regarding matters and we are not able to stand from the place of equality to communicate with our children and speak heart-to-heart with them, naturally a barrier appears between us. Thinking back to these years, wasn’t it that I couldn’t communicate well with my daughter because I assumed my place as a parent and couldn’t come down from it? I always thought that I was her mother, so she must obey me. If she didn’t, I would say to her with a tone of order and control her forcibly, which led her to feel constrained and feel antipathy against me, with the result that she would rather talk with others than communicate with me. Through God’s words, I saw that what I did was not the expression of normal humanity, and that if I went on like this, the relationship between us would be more deadlocked. But how could I solve the conflicts between us? What should I do?
I continued to read God’s words, “How is the truth to be practiced in this case? (Letting go of your pride.) What does one let go of? … Just be an ordinary person: Treat your children, treat those in your own family the same as you would an ordinary brother or sister. Although you have a responsibility, a fleshly relationship, nevertheless the position and perspective you should have is the same as with friends or ordinary brothers and sisters. That is, you can’t control, you can’t restrain your children, and always try to keep in command and have complete control over them. Let them make mistakes, let them say the wrong things, let them do childish and immature things, do stupid things. No matter what happens, sit down and calmly talk with them, communicate and seek. Don’t you think this attitude is good? Isn’t it right? So, what is being let go here? (Position and pride.) It is the letting go of the position and status of a parent, the airs of a parent, and all of the responsibility one thinks they should assume, everything that one thinks they should be doing as a parent; instead, it’s enough that one does the best they can in terms of their responsibility as an ordinary brother or sister.” “In short, the most proper relationship between children and parents is for them to understand each other, support each other, help each other, and make up for each other’s shortcomings. If you can practice this and achieve this, the conflicts between you and your parents will surely be resolved, and there will be no longer any problems” (“What Should One Possess, at the Very Least, to Have Normal Humanity”).
I found the secret of communicating with my daughter in God’s words, that is, to lower myself, let go of my position of a mother, consider her feelings in what I do and say, ask for her advice with a consulting tone and let her choose freely. This is the only way to solve the conflicts between us.
In the following days, I consciously practiced according to God’s words. When encountering something, I would put down my status as a mother to communicate with her. After her college entrance examination scores came, I hoped that she could apply to a good college in a big city and choose a major I liked. But when I thought of God’s words and also the unhappiness and pain between us, which was caused by my standing above my daughter and restricting her before, I realized that I couldn’t do that anymore and that I should practice based on God’s words. Therefore, I put down my own preferences to discuss with my daughter and learned to respect her wish. When I lowered myself and would like to listen to her words, she told me all her thoughts about the test scores and the reason why she chose these universities. The more I listened to her, the more reasonable I felt her words were, and so I didn’t force her to apply according to my will. Seeing my daughter could speak her mind to me, I thanked God out of my heart and felt the pleasure and satisfaction from practicing the truth.
After a while, because of practicing God’s words, I get along better with my daughter. Sometimes she actively comes to me and has a heart-to-heart talk with me simply as friends, and I also can accept her words gradually instead of forcing her to obey me. Sometimes when she says or does something wrong, I will not stand in the place of parents to lecture her, and instead, I deal with these things and communicate with her in a calm mood, with the result that we become friends little by little. Sometimes she will come to sleep with me in my room and talk the heart with me. Not only are we a mother and a child, we also become intimate friends. This is the outcome of God’s words in me.
It is only now that I understand thoroughly that it is not a difficult thing to communicate with children. As long as we can practice according to God’s words, letting go of our status and pride and learning to get along with children on an equal footing, naturally we will live in harmony. This is the secret of communicating with children.
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