Listening without fixing
author By Emilie Leeks,

Listening through our children's tears and other big feelings, rather than shushing, distracting or fixing things to get them to stop, feels quite alien at first for many of us. But once we have gained an understanding that expressing big emotions helps to 'clear the air' - to get us back to clear thinking and joyful living - there's no going back. Here's how one wonderful parent from our Journeys in Parenting community experienced the transformative power of listening.

No going back JiP meme


Feeling proud! Today I managed to Staylisten with E, my 7-year-old, when her money box smashed all over the floor… I had to really resist the urge to jump in with a fix and rob her of her chance to grieve! When I didn't offer a fix she looked at me and screamed 'You have to fix it or I will hit you!' I often get carried away with the talking but I kept my words to a minimum, I removed everyone from the room so I could be with her whilst she was upset and not worry about sweeping up the mess right there and then. At first she wanted to keep a small piece but I said I couldn't let her as it is sharp! Her feelings came in waves of anger and sobs and then she would stop so I would probe gently 'It was your special money box, I know'. she looked at me as if to say why on earth are you bringing it up?!! Then she would cry some more again. This happened about 4 times until she said something 'hilarious' about poo… We all giggled and she has been great ever since, I even said 'I'm going to sweep it up now' and she was ok!! My goodness she needed that and I am so grateful to Hand in Hand for giving me the tools to use in situations like this one.

broken glass dustpan brush 4


It's not easy to suddenly start listening to our little ones' big feelings, and it can bring up all sorts of feelings for us when we try it. We use our tool of Listening Partnerships to help us work through what's hard for us in listening to our children - exchanging time with another adult, who will listen without judgement to us as we talk about how hard parenting can be, helps us to clear our own minds and to think more clearly and intentionally about how we want to respond to our own children's upsets. You can find out more about Listening Partnerships in the links below, including how to set one up.

LP Em Stuart

Further reading:
- Life is easier when you listen
- Staylistening - how does crying help you and your child?
- The science behind the Hand in Hand tool of Staylistening

A word or two about Journeys in Parenting; a responsive parenting community

Emilie is a Hand in Hand Parenting instructor, and was a paediatric speech and language therapist in her former life. She provides support and coaching for parents via the Journeys in Parenting community. Emilie lives in Berkshire in the UK with her husband and 3 children.

Journeys in Parenting is a community group for parents, carers and parents-to-be, who want to find out more about parenting in a responsive and peaceful way. The community offers information, advice and emotional support for this hard work we do as parents. The vision of the group is to be a safe space, where parents are supported in guiding their families in ways which: are respectful to children; meet the parents' needs; and lead to a more peaceful planet for all.

To work one-to-one with Emilie , request a free 15-minute trial call here or visit the website for more details

Register for an event

Sign up for the mailing list

Join the community:

Please note that the Journeys in Parenting blog posts may contain affiliate links - thank you in advance for supporting us!

Post comment