Please Just Listen

When I ask you to listen to me and you start giving advice, you have not done what I asked.


When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn't feel that way, you are trampling on my feelings.


When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do something to solve my problem, you have failed me, strange as that my seem.


Listen! All I asked was that you listen, not talk, or do...just hear.


Advice is cheap: twenty cents will get you both Dear Abby and Billy Graham in the same newspaper.


And I can do for myself. I'm not helpless.


Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.


When you do something for me that I can and need to do for myself, you contribute to my fear and inadequacy.


But when you accept, as a simple fact, that I do feel, no matter how irrational, then I can quit trying to convince you and get about the business of understanding what's behind this irrational feeling.


And when that's clear, the answers are obvious and I don't need advice. Irrational feelings make sense when we understand what's behind them.


So please listen and just hear me. And if you want to talk, wait a minute for your turn, and I'll listen to you.

Ray Houghton, M.D. Berkeley, CA

Parent Pages:


1. Impact of Parenting Styles


2. A Quick Reminder


3. Please, Just Listen


4. Positive Parenting


5. Things Kids Really Want


6. A Report Card for Parents


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