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WAYS TO BE A GOOD LISTENER FOR YOUR CHILD
Listening is an essential communication skill, particularly in a parent-child relationship where it helps foster better bond between parents and their children. According to research, being a good listener means focusing your attention on the message and reviewing important information. It’s important for children to know that parents can understand what they’re saying, that they’re not alone and that their words mean something. When parents begin offering solutions to their children’s problems without first listening to them in full, children can often feel invalidated, frustrated and frequently left without a satisfying solution. “Effective listening succeeds in conveying the message “you matter” to your child,” says Katheryn Maguire, Ph.D., professor of family communication at Wayne State University.
One of the things parents can do to ensure effective learning is to pay full attention to them to obtain as much information as possible – set aside distractions and pay close attention to everything they say. Parents must also be interested in and attentive to what their children say. Children know when their parents are not interested or paying based on the way the parent responds. Maintain eye contact to demonstrate that you are truly present with your child.
Secondly, listen to them with an open mind. Avoid prejudging or trying to anticipate what your children are going to say. Allow the conversation to end before drawing conclusions based on what they have said. Avoid rejecting children’s views before they finish what they have to say. Sometimes, it may be difficult to listen respectfully and not correct misconceptions, but respect their right to express their opinions. Additionally, try to demonstrate empathy – you can do so by putting yourself in their shoes and grasp their point of view while expressing your views in a respectful manner.
Next, parents should be responsive when listening to their children. Nodding, smiling, maintaining eye contact and proper body posture with adequate verbal cues are a few ways of making your child understand that you are indeed listening to them. You can also ask questions or clarify information to ensure that you understand exactly what your child is trying to tell you. Finally, remember to pay attention to nonverbal cues. Many messages sent by children are expressed nonverbally through their tone of voice, facial expressions, energy level, posture or changes in behaviour patterns. You can often tell more from the way a child says something compared to what is being said.
In conclusion, being a good listener to your kids can help them grow in a positive environment despite the challenges they might face in life. Attentively listening to your children is the best way to foster a caring relationship where they see you as their backbone and support system. Having this secure relationship is one of the strongest factors in helping your children become resilient, responsible and caring while being open to your love and guidance.