Learning How to Listen
It sounds simple enough – listen to your children. But child experts say the problem is that many parents don’t really know how to listen to their children. This can create frustration and resentment in young children and lead to aggressive acts. By learning how to listen, a parent is showing their child they respect the child, and at the same time, the parent is modeling the proper way for the child to listen to teachers, family and other adults.
Benefits of Listening Properly
How do you learn about what’s going on in your child’s life? The best way to do that is to listen carefully to your child. Child experts say that learning to listen is a show of respect from you to your child and can help to make the parent/child relationship even stronger. If your child is having a problem, effective listening is the only way to identify the problem and begin the search for a solution. Listening carefully also allows you to understand your child’s perspective and to learn more about what kind of person you child is developing into.
Make Listening a Priority
Your children, even if they are very young, will know whether you are truly listening to them or lost in the details of work, school or other obligations. Child experts say that working parents should set aside special time after they return home from work to listen to their children. This can become a ritual the child looks forward to: Set aside a time, before just before or just after dinner, and a special place for the conversation that involves just you, the child and no interruptions. Always allow your child to start the conversation, talking about what has happened during the day and anything else. Share a little information about your day, so that your disappearance at work for so many hours during the day is not quite so mysterious.
What to Do when You Can’t Listen
Sometimes, you may be too busy with other members of the family, a crisis at work or some other issue so that you are unable to follow through with the daily time to listen and talk to your child. Tell your child that you cannot talk at the moment. Make sure the child understands that the listening sessions are important to you and make an appointment for another session. What’s most crucial at this point is that you follow through with your promise. Your child will understand that you were too busy to talk, but she will have a harder time understanding that you never seem to keep your promises.