I was given the opportunity to review Tears Heal. How to listen to our children by Kate Orson and I literally jumped at the chance. I have been a parent for a long time now and I think it is useful every so often to have a bit of an evaluation of what you do, how you communicate and what would make life smoother. I find it particularly hard to cope with Jude at times and thought this book may give me a few hints as to how we can connect with him better and how I could listen to him more successfully.
So the book is called Tears Heal. How to listen to our children and it is written by Kate Orson. It was published this year, 2016 and has 251 pages not including the index, further reading suggestions and references.
This book intrigued me from the opening page and without wanting to ruin it for any possible future readers, here are a couple of quotes that jumped out at me.
- “We can be like a lighthouse that can hep to guide them through their stormy emotions. A lighthouse doesn’t have the power to change the weather, but it does offer a point our children can use to locate themselves so that they feel safe and connected.”
I absolutely love this analogy. I love many analogies but this one really reminds me of Jude and I, or what I’d like Jude and I to be. I need to be a stronger light for him; I need him to feel he can be guided by me but we struggle to have enough time to ourselves so that I can help him to become that better person. From now on, I promise to be his lighthouse.
- “There are mirror neutrons in the brain that actually recreate and mirror the moods around us. When we are relaxed and loving, our child can release all his bad feelings and then attune to our brain, soak up our calm state and restore his own emotional equilibrium.”
This is a strong reminder to me to maintain a positive aura because Jude is well known for picking up on tension in a room. He doesn’t take confrontation well at all, you can’t tell him off in the traditional sense as it has a hugely negative effect on him. So not only will I be his lighthouse, I’ll be his glowing shiny lighthouse.
The book is broken down into eighteen chapters including a conclusion. Each chapter is based around useful analogies and imagery that really helps make the detailed suggestions truly viable and simple in execution. The running theme throughout the book is that of forming listening partnerships with other parents that you trust; this notion of talking and listening to one another is a fantastic way of removing any obstacles you find with parenting your own children – discussing emotions, childhood and reflecting on how you were raised with someone else can really help you to listen with more clarity to your own children. Each chapter is cleverly named with tangible nouns for added simplicity. It’s obviously easier to understand something if strong imagery employing everyday objects is employed and this is a technique the author here has mastered. For example, chapter four Listening Partnership – putting on your own oxygen mask first and chapter ten – Special time – creating the safety for tears.
Chapter fourteen – Separations and long goodbyes – sending your child off into the world is fantastic for me as I have been considering nurseries for Emmeline and it suggests how to handle separation anxiety which I know Emmeline struggles with. Rather than leaving whilst the child is crying and possibly increasing anxiety levels, the author suggests taking your time and ensuring the child is comfortable with a carer they feel confident with often returning to offer further comfort. I find this section could be too good to be true in our case BUT I’m going to give it a try…Emmeline is a hard nut to crack at times, it’s her way or the high way and the authors fifteen month old child sounds, through her description, a lot more passive by nature. Emmeline is crazy. BUT as mentioned previously, I need to slow down and I think my children need me to slow down also. I’ll keep you posted…
An example of one of the reflective pages in the book – I’m going to make Joe try this with me this weekend.
What I love most about this book is that literally every page relates to our life in some way. In one chapter, the author gives three possible reactions to what she calls broken cookie situations – when supposedly small problems cause a huge upset with your child. The three reactions are:
1) to let your child tantrum it out.
2) to not give in because you don’t want them to think they can get away with this behaviour.
3) to listen. Not just listen to their words but their entire being “We can slow down and stay in that moment.” I think this is something I forget to do as I’m always in such a rush but it makes sense and the author finds a way to make you realise that this is the only viable option.
This book is truly eye opening for me and not only can I relate to it with Jude-situations, even my relationship with Elsa can be improved by some of the authors suggestions.
Kate Orson is a parenting instructor from the UK who now resides in Switzerland continuing with her parenting workshops whilst also offering online consulting. Kate has an MPhil in creative writing and this comes through in her books entirety because it is written in such fluid prose, it is often poetic at times.
I think this book would be fantastic for so many people – parents like me who are still wandering blind, future parents as well as people who work with children. It’s a beautifully written book and one that I will refer back to regularly to remind myself of the important notions.