When Parenting Never Ends, Part 3: Who shares stories?

Parenting advice 3 sharing stories Dr Ben Pratt This
week’s guest writer is Dr. Benjamin Pratt, who is writing a new
workbook for parents with adult children or grandchildren
“moving home” and needing long-term care. Dr. Pratt wants your help  …
(Quick links: Intro, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.)

Who shares stories with you? It’s an important part of forming a caring community.
    A group is not a community. Community forms when we have shared and listened to each other’s stories and become aware that, in spite of our differences, there is a common story that unites us.
    Here’s another all-too-common comment, something I heard from a man who wound up serving for years as a Dad for his adult son. He tried talking to other men in a group he regularly attends: “I want to tell someone how difficult life is with my son. I must not do it well because, within a few minutes, they are telling me about things from their lives and it never gets back to me. So, I just get quiet and listen or drift away.”
    Part of the problem, I think, is our competitive nature. We approach conversations with more interest in the next thing we’re going to say—rather than listening to the person talking to us. Part of the problem, also, is the awkwardness of someone sharing a story that’s difficult—sharing problems we can’t do much to alleviate.
    Good listeners are hard to find. But good listening is essential to help each other through the challenges of endless parenting.
    What have you learned about talking—and listening? What problems, like this, have you witnessed? What tips can you share?

    Please, Add a Comment. Where have you seen this kind of problem arising? What solutions have you found?

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