As my daughter enters adolescence, emotions and hormones are starting to run high in our house. There are tears and slammed doors, raised voices and words thrown. But at the very heart of it, my child’s core desire is to be heard and listened to. A few months ago, out of the blue, she came up with the most amazing idea; and I wanted to share it with you.
After a particularly difficult exchange, she brought me out to the living room and pointed to two chairs. “These are going to be our talking chairs,” she told me. “When we are having a fight, I want us to come out here and sit down with one another.” She pulled a palm-sized labradorite stone off of my mantle piece. “This will be our talking stone. Whoever has it, gets to talk and the other person has to listen. We can’t leave these chairs until we are ready to say sorry and hug.” Amazing. This proposal came from a ten year old child.
We have been using the talking space for a few months now and it has been very impactful. It is interesting how, when emotions are running high, it is easy to want to speak over another person in order to get your point heard. But, of course, then no one is really listening to the other: everyone is just competing to talk.
When you are compelled to stop, and really listen to the perspective of the other person before responding, it shifts the dynamic. Now there is the opportunity to really hear them and to be heard. It becomes a human exchange, rather than a boxing match, and all kinds of solutions are born.
We have been practicing this approach for a few months now and it is working really well. We always walk away from the space with a renewed sense of love and connection, which is the objective in a healthy home environment; and I am once again reminded of how my child is also my greatest teacher.