Parenting

Active Listening Means A Better Parent

Parents should try to listen to what their children say. Problems between children and parents often result due to lack of poor communication. Parents either do not have the time or are not interested in what their children have to say. Active listening indicates that parents care for their children. The child is drawn closer to the parent. He or she confides in the parent and is happy that the parent is willing to hear him or her.

Undivided attention given to the child by the parent ensures healthy growth of the child. The child can emotionally identify with the parent. Actively listening to the child’s woes or stories of interest makes the child feel very important. Parents can also guide the child properly when they know their inner thoughts. Adolescents often go through phases of turbulence in their personal lives. They need someone who can listen to them. How does one actively listen to the child?

Tips for Active Listening

  • Set aside your busy activities and pay attention to the child. Listen to him or her when it is needed
  • Look at your child attentively while listening to him or her. Feel excited about it if the child has something special to say. Appreciate his or her achievements. If the child is worried or unhappy, listen to him or her without interruptions
  • Give full attention. Listening to the child while doing something else may not make the child feel that he or she is being cared for
  • Comment on what is being said. Let the child feel that you are concerned about it. Perhaps your solution may make the child feel comfortable
  • Ask questions, which make the child feel that you are interested in knowing more
  • Do not pass judgments
  • Be objective. Do not allow your feelings and sentiments deter the child from saying what he or she wants
  • Empathize. Feel for the child. Do not give the impression that you are listening to the child because you have to do so as a parent
  • Make the child feel comfortable. A cozy and loving atmosphere will make the child reveal more
  • Do not pressurize the child into saying something
  • Ask questions honestly and sincerely. Do not sound hypocritical
  • Let the child discover himself or herself. He or she should feel is handling the issue on hand independently. It boosts confidence in the child to handle a particular situation
  • Do not complete the sentences. You need not fill in the gaps in what is being conveyed. The child is quite capable of doing so
  • Show interest in the speaker. Ask questions to that effect
  • Do not jump to conclusions
  • Be patient
  • Do not interrupt the child. Let him or her convey his or her feelings freely
  • Do not reprimand the child for being honest about his or her feelings

Active listening is indeed an art by itself. Parents have to be careful while listening to the child. They should break down any barriers existing between them. The child should be free to express his or her feelings. Parents should encourage children to share their inner most thoughts with them. This would lead to a healthy parent-child relationship.

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