Funny how you learn things. Sometimes it's right away and sometimes it's over years, looking back and realizing what you should have done differently. I realized over the years what kind of listener I was, especially with my family. It took a while because I wasn't a great listener. With my kids, I realized over the years I should have listened differently. What do I mean? Well, if my kids came home with a rough day, I would listen but think they would get over it and kind of reflect that on them like their opinions and feelings were so infantile that it almost didn't count. Don't get me wrong, there were days I understood the severity and gave mommy advice, but because they were kids and my childhood was very different I always felt they had it easy, overreacted and it really wasn't that bad. What I failed to realize was for their little minds in their little lives what they were experiencing was profoundly big, it was all they knew. What was happing around them now, what they were experiencing now, was their life. It took me a bit to realize that I needed to be a good listener. That many times they didn't need advice as to so much an ear or everything will be ok or sometimes a strategized plan on how to react and respond during a school week. As my kids got older I realized that my listing skills needed to be a tool to use to interact and react with them. I learned what kind of listener I needed to be, when should I make a big deal and when to just listen. I also learned that with my friends the situation is similar, I need to be a different kind of listener with each friend, it can't be a universal thing, each friend is different and needs different support as for each kid. I have friends that need me to listen, react and respond differently. I learned that listing was a skill to be constantly mastered. ( still mastering!)  I really make sure especially with my kids that no matter how old they are I am all ears! That whatever they have to say it's the utmost importance to me. I stop my world when they call because they need to know and remember even if it's subtle that they are my world and listing to them, their day whatever it is good are bad that I am here, to comfort, give support, kudos or just an ear.