Listening Time is a concept that Patty Wipfler, founder of Hand In Hand Parenting has made a worldwide phenomenon. Basically, you find another adult to exchange non-judgemental, non-prescriptive, no-advice Listening Time with on a regular basis.
I’ve covered this concept and how to find a partner here but there are so many directions in which to take this, so I’m going to outline some examples.
The benefit of Listening Time is that we all have thoughts that need to be heard by an attentive ear and sometimes we have thoughts that we’d like to let go of, thoughts that are not serving us and these thoughts, once lovingly listened to, are then able to be let go of.
A good starting point with Listening is just to tell your life story as it comes. Start at the beginning until where you are now.
Another option is to talk about a specific moment of parenting that has challenged you.
Jumping off the previous you can discuss how you handled it versus how your own carers may have handled it. If you feel you handled it badly, you can talk about what you wish you had done or what was behind the way you handled it. Sometimes when it feels like this type of parenting is all too much you can talk about what it would be like to be one of those parents who doesn’t care, how would you have responded in that case?
You can talk to your Listening Partner as though they are your child, partner, parent, parent-in-law, judgemental old lady in supermarket, etc.
Recently I’ve had some success connecting with myself at my child’s age, which was quite monumental.
You can just think of something that will make you cry because (just like our children) we too can benefit from a big cry and offloading. You could also swear, yell, rage and/or tantrum.
You don’t have to talk about parenting at all. You can address any issue that’s playing on your mind.
The Listener listens holding only the thoughts that the other person is good, wise, strong and has got this. It’s built upon the idea that we all have the answers within us, we just need a loving ear and loving energy to help us unleash those answers from within.
It’s a concept that I wasn’t big on to start with. By the time I came across it I already knew I wanted to one day be a professional in this field so how could I possibly reveal these weak moments to anyone? I knew I had friends I shared most of me with as well as my partner. I didn’t have time to fit this extra activity into my lifestyle.
Then I found an amazing partner and realised what I’d been missing. I trust my partner (now partners) wholeheartedly with this process and I know that talking about my weakest, most vulnerable moments actually strengthens me (and gives me the power to share them with others), I know it’s different to friendships where sometimes we want to share advice with one another and sometimes we don’t want to go too deep and I know that this is the best-spent use of my time because I can tick all the other parenting boxes all I like but the pieces don’t fit without doing this work on myself too!
So give it a go! Have a look at this article for where to find a partner or ask me for some time or any other questions you may have!
Lots of love,