Make Time to Talk

By Susan Marie Murdoch, Author/Illustrator, Tampa, Florida USA

The quote, “A child should be seen and not heard’, has been around since the 15th century and has placed an unnecessary
stigma on how adults have little regard for what kids have to say.

In today’s world of texting, e-mailing, social media, and the ever increasing lack of face to face dialog, parents need to start earlier and work harder than ever to build and nurture a strong communication bond with their child. One that will grow and remain in tact through their difficult adolescent and teen years.

Being a parent in today’s society can be overwhelming and stressful. We are busy raising families while working multiple jobs just to make ends meet.
More often than not, when a child acts out, instead of addressing the problem and talking through it, the child is sent to their room or to the corner for a “Time out.” This allows them to remain frustrated or angry, with no resolution as to what is truly bothering them.

Open communication and daily dialog with your child, whether it is through reading a favorite bedtime story or dinner time conversation, has many benefits other than just forming a close and trusting relationship. It helps in the development of vocabulary, understanding and mental focus, as well as compassion and self esteem. The child who is shown positive attention can do nothing but benefit and learn from the same.

Children facing a serious illness, disease or birth defect have the same if not a much greater need for communication and dialog with their parent, caregiver or teacher.
So much attention and energy is spent on the diagnosis, treatment, Dr. Visits, and getting through their daily lives, that discussion of feelings and emotions are often avoided or suppressed. It may be that the parent feels the child is too young to understand. It could be that the parent wants to remain strong for the child and is afraid to show their fear or vice versa. We can not just take time; we must “Make” time to listen to our children. Validate what they are feeling and expressing. Build that bond and trust so as they grow and head into those difficult years, facing challenges in school and on the street, it will be second nature for them to come to you with problems, questions, and guidance.

As parents, we are not required to have a degree on how to raise a child. We do the best we can by utilizing our own blue printing and experiences or the experiences of others, whether it’s a family member, friend or medical professional. Listening and learning from their success and failures are sometimes our only tool. Allow me to share with you some wisdom that comes from my own life experience that had a profound affect on my daughter’s childhood.

My daughter was born with Goldenhars syndrome. A congenital birth-defect that involves the deformity of facial features. She struggled with emotional turmoil and insecurities of feeling different from everyone around her. This was a constant pull at my heart strings.

It has been found that kids make fun of what they don’t understand. My daughter was a victim of constant teasing and cruel comments. To help her through the rough years of middle school, along with the multitude of reconstructive surgeries at Boston Children’s Hospital, we recorded and photographed her experiences and created an album for her to share with her class. We noticed that when she shared her experiences and answered questions surrounding her surgeries and procedures, her classmates had a greater understanding and respect for what she had endured. The teasing and cruel comments stopped, and in turn, she made many lasting and valuable friendships as a result.

"Communication is the key that unlocks the barrier and lets the light of knowledge into your world."

Susan Marie Murdoch, Author/Illustrator, Tampa, Florida USA

Susan Marie Murdoch grew up on the seacoast of Maine, and currently resides in Tampa, Fl. She has an eclectic collection of scholastic achievements. Susan attended the Military Police Academy at Fort McClellan, Alabama, while serving in the United States Army as well as graduating from the New Hampshire Institute of Therapeutic Arts, in Hudson, N.H., as a Licensed Massage Therapist. She holds an Associates Degree in Business Science from McIntosh College in Dover, N.H., and spent 16 years working as a Licensed Nursing Assistant in the surrounding communities.

As the Illustrator, Susan was a member of the Kittery Art Association, and student of the Art Instruction School, Minneapolis, MN. She is currently working on several other children books, and a non-fiction novel.

The book Plaid Frogs, Blue Toads & Pink Pollywog's was inspired by Susan’s brother-in-law, George Murdoch’s courageous fight with lung cancer and her involvement with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, throughout the years. Susan's mother is a Breast Cancer survivor, and is also a source of inspiration for her.

Susan travels to surrounding hospitals, schools and cancer events and reads her story to children and families who are facing difficult times.

A portion of the proceeds of Plaid Frogs, Blue Toads & Pink Pollywog's goes to the American Cancer Society.
Like Plaid-Frogs-Blue-Toads-Pink-Pollywogs on facebook
Follow Susan on twitter
Purchase Plaid-Frogs-Blue-Toads-Pink-Pollywogs on