Listening to someone is not as easy as it sounds. In today’s high speed, high tech world, communication is so very important, and yet we seem to be listening less and less to one another. Listening is important for effective communication. Inability to actively listen leads to misunderstanding and differences. Therefore actively listening to both adults and your kids is very important for maintaining a good, healthy relationship.
So why is it important to listen to your child?
When you listen to your kid, they are more likely to listen to you. Some of the benefits of listening to your child include:
- Listening to your child helps you gather information about what is happening in your child’s life and their mind. Children usually talk a lot about how they feel. They tend talk about stories and ideas they have stored up in their minds. They also talk about their fears, their friends and a lot more. Listening to what they say gives you as parents a good handle on what’s going on in their lives and in their minds.
- Helps build strong bonds. When your kid knows that he or she is being listened to, and that their opinions and thoughts matter, they will begin to trust you more and thereby build stronger bonds with you.
- Listening effectively is a way of showing respect. Everyone wants to be “listened to”. By listening thoughtfully, children feel wanted and respected. Even kids need to sense that they are respected.
- Listening is the first step towards solving any problem. A lot of problems can be solved if you just listen. We usually tend to react first before listening. Try and listen first, then listen well, and then react to the situation.
- Teaches kids to listen to others as well. If you want your child to listen to you, you’ll need to first listen to him or her. A child who is listened to learns how to listen. And until she or he learns how to listen to you, it’s the same as telling your problems to a wall. No matter how eloquently you express yourself, nobody will be hearing what you said, but you.
Some of the ways to let your children know that you are listening to them include:
- Don’t multitask. Stop everything that you are doing and listen to your child when they speak.
- Have an “our” time with your kids. It’s a good idea to have a set time and place for you to talk to your kids. For example, when they are back from school, you could have an “our” time when they are having their snacks. Ask them how their day was and have a conversation going.
- Show interest when they speak without being too nosy.
- Nod in between the conversation to show them that you are listening to them.
- Use words like “yes” or “wow” or “nice” to show that you are paying attention to them.
- Listen to what their point of view is, even though it does not make any sense to you.
- Allow them to finish before you begin speaking.
- Try narrating the same content to them as they had told you to make sure that you have understood them correctly.
Some of the ways to respond in a way that your children will hear:
- Do not express strong reactions. Children may stop communicating if you express anger or try to be defensive.
- Convey your point or idea without putting them down.
- Do not argue about who is right and who is wrong. Instead help them understand that your thinking is different from theirs and it is ok to have a difference of opinion.
- The most important thing is to consider your child’s feelings rather than your own opinions.
Parenting is never an easy task. Listening and speaking is the key to maintain a healthy relationship with your children. Maintaining a good connection with your children is very challenging since parents have to deal with many other situations as well. However there is no gain without pain and any effort put or invested into your child’s life will never go waste. It will only yield successful results.