By clarifying your own issues, you can better monitor your reactions and acknowledge for yourself that you are dealing with more than just the present situation. One of the fundamental tools of clinicians who work effectively with children and adolescents is the art of listening. As you read, please think about how the parent and the child are feeling and how the parent’s responses affect the relationship between them. You would expect the teacher to know what is happening in the room. are not involved personally in the situation – the situation is not your problem and you can stay separate and objective. There is definitely a time and place for the following responses; but since they are not Active Listening responses, they will not necessarily help your children to explore a situation and come to their own decisions about how to handle it. With time being a valuable commodity in your busy life, easy and quick solutions may be desirable, and taking the time to listen may seem like an inconvenient chore. For example, “I need to make a few phone calls before 5:00, but after I am finished, I am all yours.”. You are tempted to keep making dinner while nodding your head at what your child is saying, but then you decide to show him you are actively listening. He comes and tells you that his brother hit him and called him a bad name. This form of communication tends to place the focus on the situation, not on your children, their experiences, or their reactions. Can they see the big picture or do they get bogged down in the details? While quite useful and important, these explanations fall under the category of teaching – an important part of parenting, but not part of listening. It denies the importance of venting feelings, sorting them out, and processing. A clarifying listening response takes a much broader or deeper view of the situation your children are facing, offers other possible reactions and identifies potential needs, values, expectations, wishes, and underlying issues. Give your child instructions around the house or while cooking together. It can help you create a very special and supportive bond with them in which you both feel a heightened sense of self-esteem and closeness. A feeling listening response to the child who can’t sleep would be:  “When you think a monster might get you, you are too scared to go to sleep.”. As a result, the child was able to talk about the situation in the classroom in more detail, and the mother found out what was really bothering her daughter. Let the exchange go only as far as your child wants it to.Don’t push him to continue to talk after he seems satisfied or wants to stop. You may feel uncomfortable when your children are experiencing something unpleasant. Reflection is one way for you to show you are actively listening to your child. • Active Listening helps the child understand and deal with his/her own feelings. While the kids play, you quickly start making dinner. Mother: (said roughly) Of course you want to go to school today. Active Listening demonstrates trust and care, avoids conflicts, and establishes better understanding. Daughter: (sounding glum) I don’t want to go to school today. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Below are the common traps that parents fall into when trying to listen to their children. In this example, the parent corrects the grammar, pronounces “spaghetti” for the child, and adds detail by describing the spaghetti as “long”. I used to love going to his big, old house. Active listening is a very sophisticated skill that can take years to master. You can test your children’s readiness by asking “Do you want to think about what you can do to resolve this situation?”  Then, see if they have ideas for dealing with it on their own or if they need your assistance. Active Listening is an important life skill that you can teach your child – and help yourself, too! Mother: You’re really angry at the kids and feel so let down that your teacher doesn’t even do anything about it. You will be subject to the destination website's privacy policy when you follow the link. Active Listening. It may tell your children that they are not capable of handling the situation, and that you know best. But our children need to know that we are going to listen to them. Active listening means really … She has begun to learn how to label and cope with her feelings by talking to someone. Parents and teachers can teach students how to become an active listener by becoming active listeners themselves. You can help your children by using as many feeling words as possible when you are actively listening to them. Active Listening is a communication skill that improves connection, clarity and understanding in the parent-child relationship. Today, you may learn that the parent of a schoolmate was just in a car accident and is in the hospital; your son is actually fearful that the same could happen to you, and so he doesn’t want you to leave. Required fields are marked *. These non-verbal responses can be represented by a ticket to a movie – in which you are watching and listening and attending, but not speaking. When your children are troubled or have any kind of strong emotions, some form of active listening is often the best first approach to use. Having these words readily available to you in your vocabulary can make you a more astute listener, as you may be able to better detect nuances in what your children are feeling. It requires taking an active role in a child’s growth and development, and an active approach to parenting. For example, if you had an argument with your sister about the care of your parents, you may be impatient and irritable with your children when they ask for help. When your child feels listened to, they know that you are making a genuine effort to understand them. Such statements can give your children food for thought as far as processing the situation and can help them to feel less alone. Some parents use these sentence starters as a “cheat sheet,” posting them on their refrigerator or keeping them on their night stand until they become more familiar with them: Feeling comfortable using Active Listening can take a long time; it is a sophisticated skill that requires parents to use their intuition about what their children may be feeling or what lies beneath their words and behaviors. This mother did not get angry and she didn’t jump in with solutions. You only have a short time to make dinner, help with homework, and get everyone ready for the game. It can be tempting to brush off our children’s problems, especially if we have had a bad day or if we are busy. It is certainly not the only response to use when your children want to talk. Active Listening: Techniques that Work for Children and Parents is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that offers strategies for achieving more effective communication. Active Listening is the single most important skill you can have in your parenting “toolbelt.”  It is a specific form of communication that lets another person know that you are “with them,” aware of what they are saying, accepting of their perspective, and appreciative of their situation. “The reason this might have happened is…”, “This happened because you weren’t paying attention. … Purchasing from Amazon.com through our website supports the work we do to help parents do the best job they can to raise their children. When Active Listening, it is helpful to know that at any given time or in any given situation, there are broad issues beneath the surface of your children’s words or reactions that reflect feelings, needs, or concerns. Remember that to become skilled at Active Listening takes time and practice; it is well worth your effort, as everyone in your family will benefit as you begin to use this very important skill.   For example, your eight-year-old may become upset when you mention that a teenager who has taken care of your children many times in the past will be babysitting tomorrow night. when you will question them in order to get more information about something they are experiencing. She kept herself separate from the situation her daughter was describing. A non-verbal listening response involves little or no verbal activity, but you show attentiveness by nodding and making facial expressions in response to your children’s statements. Often these responses are ways to teach your children a principle about life that relates to the situation and their reactions to it. As active listening involves listening, accepting, and understanding without judging or interrupting, parents get a more accurate understanding of what their child is trying to express. Before you can teach your child active listening you need to understand what it is. Need tips? Sometimes, there is not any way to “fix” the situation, but, just by listening, your child knows that at least one person in the world cares about him and is on his side. When you are active listening, there is no judgment or evaluation of what the speaker is saying. It will be all right.”, “It’s going to be all right soon. Listening is an art; and we as parents must excel in that. Mother: You’re not happy at school because it isn’t interesting to you. The truth is parents can improve when they learn the qualities of a good listener. The child felt that her mother wasn’t listening to her and would eventually learn not to turn to this mother for support. ____________________________________________________________,

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