How Do I Listen To Adult Kids?

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Mom ears are a thing. Forget radar. Who needs sonar? Bats have nothing on my Mom hearing.

I could hear the refrigerator opening, or middle of the night wanderings, or whispers of conspiracy.

I could HEAR when it was too quiet. A silence exists that screams to a Mom, “The kids are into SOMETHING. You have approximately 5.2 seconds before permanent damage will occur.”

Back when my babies hadn't yet learned the supreme glory of slumber and preferred snuggling over sleep, I would hear the beginnings of their cries in the midnight hours. I went from deep REM to AWAKE in milliseconds. But the Dad? I nudged, poked, and sometimes kicked, while repeating the question, “Do you hear the baby?” My husband would finally grunt, “No, I don’t hear a thing.” Of course, he couldn’t. He didn’t have Mom ears.

Mom Ears Need An Upgrade

My kids range from approaching adulthood to already out of the house, establishing their own homes. My hard-won auditory skills acquired during their childhoods no longer hold the same value. I find I need a whole new set of listening skills.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
— Matthew 11:15, ESV

My ears need an adjustment. When my kids were little I listened so I could go fix stuff or prevent life-threatening consequences or catch bad decisions before major character damage had occurred. It was sort of like a super power.

But my mom-to-adult-kid ears need different skills. My kids don’t need me to run and save the day any more. Yet they do still need me. Which leaves me sighing and wondering, “Well, what the heck am I supposed to do? How do I listen enough but not too much?”

I need a new role model. So, as I continue to learn the new dance of being a parent of grown-ups, I learning from my Heavenly Father how to be a better listener. God values listening and hearing. He always hears. Perceives. Understands.

But it is not easy for me. Here is one problem: as I age my ears hear worse, not better. Just like eyesight declines, so do hearing skills. Yet, it is not hearing as well anymore that makes my active listening all the more important.

But I have another problem. I find my emotional hearing declining as well. First off, my heart is tired, my emotions worn out, and my “tryer” out of gas. Problems that have never gone away and bitterness held over from past hurts clog my heart’s ears like cotton balls.

Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!
— Psalm 141:3, ESV

At times the, “I told you so” rings so loudly on the tip of my tongue that it drowns out the still, small, loving voice of the Spirit. It demands to be said while the Spirit warns, "Leave that with Me, dearest. I will take care of it."

If I am going to be able to HEAR my kids, I am going to need a spiritual hearing aide. So, I turn to the Healer of deafness. The Opener of ears. The Giver of understanding. I ask the Lord to help me LISTEN to my kids.

If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.
— Proverbs 18:13, ESV

My kids don’t need me to spout out answers. They don’t want me to insert my opinion about every subject. They don’t require my help with every decision.

I am grateful that deafness was one of the maladies Jesus addressed. As He walked the Galilean hills, teaching, "the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them." (Matthew 11:5, ESV)

I ask Jesus to heal my ears and bring new life to them so I can listen, hear, perceive, and understand as my adult children speak with me. Here are some prayers to help our ears perform in ways that will bless our kids and bless our relationships with them too!


5 Prayers For Grown-Up Mom Ears

1. Quick to hear and slow to speak.

  • Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (James 1:19-20, ESV)
  • PRAYER: Lord, please slow my tongue and quicken my ears. Help me to not just hear my kids’ words but also their heart, their fears, their doubts, and their hopes. And when they say something goofy, please keep me from anger. I can’t work Your righteousness into them, but I ask You to!

2. My ears would be opened

  • And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. (Mark 7:35, ESV)
  • PRAYER: Jesus, please open my ears to deeply hear my kids. I ask You to help me not say anything UNLESS YOU release my tongue. When You have me speak, please help me speak plainly, not with emotion and fear.

3. Wisdom to respond to what I am hearing

  • making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; … For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, (Proverbs 2:2, 6-7, ESV)
  • PRAYER: Lord, I give You my ears and ask You to give me wisdom and understanding in how to navigate difficult conversations. Thank You for having stored up wisdom for me to use, and please guard my heart and my tongue and help me relate lovingly with my adult kids.

4. My ears would seek God's knowledge.

  • An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. (Proverbs 18:15, ESV)
  • PRAYER: Lord, my ears seek knowledge from You. I don’t want to rest on my own intelligence but rather to lean and rely on You for HOW to hear and WHAT (if anything!) to say.

5. My heart would believe that no matter what I hear, God is still at work in ways I cannot imagine.

  • … You did awesome things which we did not expect, … For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear, Nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him. (Isaiah 64:3-4, NASB)
  • PRAYERS: There is no one beside You God. I can’t even imagine all You can and will do for my kids. Thank You that my child is never out of Your hand. Please build my faith that I would have the trust to wait on You. And as I wait, please help me listen and love my children.


How about you? How are your Mom-ears adjusting to the new normal of adult kids? Let's pray for each other. We need to trust the Lord MORE than our ears. We still have work to do, BUT it has much more to do with LISTENING to Jesus and His directions for what to do next as we leave our kids with Him.

And think about this- if we are great listeners and our kids feel comfortable talking to us, we will know EXACTLY what to pray ABOUT! Sort of like being a prayer spy. Isn't that awesome!

Leave a prayer request below and I will pray for you.