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Actively Listening to your Child

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Communicating with your children can be a difficult task at times. You may feel like they’re not listening to you and they may feel like you’re not listening to them.

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Parent and Child
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Communicating with your children can be a difficult task at times. You may feel like they’re not listening to you and they may feel like you’re not listening to them. Good listening and communications skills are essential to successful parenting. Your child’s feelings, views and opinions have worth, and you should make sure you take the time to sit down and listen openly and discuss them honestly.

Father Son Time

An Urge to React

There seems to be a natural tendency to react rather than to respond when in a confrontational situation. Many people pass judgment based on their own feelings and experiences. However, responding means being receptive to your child’s feelings and emotions and allowing them to express themselves openly and honestly without fear of repercussion. By reacting, you send your child the message that their feelings and opinions are invalid. 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. Also, responding 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.

Parent Child Talking

Paying Attention

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.

Father Son Bonding

It’s Important to Feel Emotions

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

Just as adults do, children have feelings and experience difficult situations. By actively listening and participating with your child as they talk about it, it demonstrates to them that you do care, want to help and have similar experiences of your own that they can draw from. Remember: respond, don’t react.