Do You Listen to What Your Child Tells You?

Sometimes, communicating with our children can be a very difficult task. At times, we feel like they're not listening to us; they feel like we're not listening to them. Being a good listener and having good communications skills are essential to successful parenting. Your child's feelings, views and opinions are all worthy of listening and attending to, and you should make sure you take the time to sit down and listen openly and discuss them honestly.

Human's natural tendency is to react rather than to respond. We pass judgment based on our own feelings and experiences. On the other hand, responding means being receptive to our child's feelings and emotions and allowing them to openly and honestly express themselves without fear of repercussion from us. By reacting, we send our child the message that their feelings and opinions are worthless. However, by responding and asking questions about why the child feels that way, it opens a dialog that allows them to discuss their feelings further, and allows you a better understanding of where they're coming from. Responding also gives you an opportunity to work out a solution or a plan of action with your child that perhaps they would not have come up with on their own. Your child will also appreciate the fact that maybe you do indeed understand how they feel.

It's crucial in these situations to give your child your full and undivided attention. Put down your newspaper, stop doing dishes, or turn off the television so you can hear the full situation and make eye contact with your child. Keep calm, be inquisitive, and afterwards offer potential solutions to the problem.

Don't discourage your child from feeling upset, angry, or frustrated. Our initial instinct may be to say or do something to steer our child away from it, but this can be a damaging approach. Again, listen to your child, ask questions to find out why they are feeling that way, and then offer potential solutions to lessen the bad feeling.

Just as we do, our children have feelings and experience difficult situations. By actively listening and participating with our child as they talk about it, it demonstrates to them that we do care, we want to help and we have similar experiences of our own that they can draw from.

Remember, respond - don't react.

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2 comments on “Do You Listen to What Your Child Tells You?”

  1. That is a very good reminder. especially "dont discourage your child from feeling upset, angry or frustrated".

    thanks for this wonderful post!!

  2. I don't listen to my son when he was much younger. It was do it or else...... No questions are allowed. My thinking was, at a young age, he needs to be guided and disciplined.

    As the first grandchild, he's pampered by his two pairs of grandparents and uncles and aunts. So I need to be strict with him. I seldom give in to his demands.

    My son's coming to 16 soon. I'm blessed that he is obedient and filial. Since he went to Secondary one, i changed my approach, I listen and try to understand from his side of view. As a teenager, he could turn rebellious. Anything can be discussed. We are very close and have a great relationship.

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