How to listen to our children ?

Ignoring children by the grown ups is a common sight. Very often parents dismiss their children’s little conversations as nothing of importance. These conversations should be taken seriously. We must approach these conversations with diligence. These are some advises about having insightful conversations with your child. These can be of immense benefit to your child’s progress. 

Be Present 

Being present means giving your child your full attention when they are speaking to you. This involves putting aside distractions such as electronic devices, work, or other concerns, and focusing entirely on your child. By being fully present, you show your child that their thoughts and feelings are important to you, and you create a space for open and meaningful communication. This also helps to build trust and a sense of security in your relationship with your child, as they will feel valued and heard when you are fully present during your interactions.

Listen Without Judgment

The second point, "Listen Without Judgment," emphasizes the importance of creating a non-judgmental space for your child to express themselves. When your child shares their thoughts or feelings, it's essential to refrain from interrupting or imposing your own judgments. Instead, focus on actively listening to what they have to say without immediately critiquing or evaluating their words. This approach encourages open communication and demonstrates to your child that their thoughts and emotions are respected, regardless of whether you agree with them. It also fosters a sense of trust and understanding within the parent-child relationship, allowing your child to feel comfortable expressing themselves without fear of judgment.

Validate Their Feelings 

The third point, "Validate Their Feelings," underscores the importance of acknowledging and validating your child's emotions. When your child expresses their feelings, it's crucial to respond in a way that communicates understanding and acceptance, even if you don't necessarily agree with their perspective. Validating their emotions can be as simple as saying, "I understand that you feel this way," or "It's okay to feel that way." This approach helps your child feel heard and supported, and it encourages them to continue sharing their feelings with you. By validating their emotions, you demonstrate empathy and create a safe environment for open and honest communication, strengthening the parent-child bond.

Use Active Listening

The fourth point, "Use Active Listening," involves employing techniques that entail your active engagement in the conversation with your child. Active listening shows that you are fully present and interested in what your child is saying. One way to do this is by repeating back what your child has said to ensure that you have understood them correctly. For example, you might say, "It sounds like you're feeling frustrated because of what happened at school today. Is that right?" This approach not only confirms your understanding but also give hints to your child that their words are being carefully considered. Active listening fosters a sense of being heard and valued, encouraging your child to express themselves more openly and helping to build a strong and trusting relationship.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

Point five involves encourage your child to share more about their thoughts and feelings using questions. Open-ended questions cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no," and instead, they prompt your child to provide more expressive responses. For instance, instead of asking, "Did you have a good day at school?" you might ask, "What was the most interesting thing that happened at school today?" This approach invites your child to communicate more openly, express their ideas, and share their experiences in greater depth. By asking open-ended questions, you also encourages the child to think more about the answer. It builds perspective and encourage them to engage in meaningful conversations, which can strengthen your bond and help them feel valued and understood.

Reflect on What They Say

Point six, emphasizes the importance of taking the time to consider and understand your child's feelings. When your child shares their thoughts or feelings, it's valuable to pause and reflect on their words before offering a response. It also allows you to provide a more thoughtful and meaningful reply, showing your child that their words are being carefully considered. By reflecting on what they say, you convey respect for their thoughts and emotions, fostering a deeper level of communication and understanding within your parent-child relationship. This practice can lead to more meaningful and constructive conversations, ultimately strengthening the bond between you and your child.

Avoid Multitasking 

Point number six, highlights the importance of giving your child your undivided attention during conversations. When you are multitasking or distracted by other things while your child is speaking to you, it can send the message that you are not fully present or interested in what they have to say. This can be hurtful to your child and may discourage them from sharing their thoughts and feelings with you in the future. By avoiding multitasking and focusing solely on your child during conversations, you demonstrate that you value their communication and that their words are important to you. This approach can help to build trust and a sense of security in your relationship with your child, encouraging them to communicate more openly and honestly with you.

Be Empathetic: 

Point number seven, involves putting yourself in your child's shoes and trying to understand their perspective. Empathy is the ability to recognize and share the feelings of another person, and it is a crucial component of effective communication. When your child shares their thoughts or feelings, it's essential to respond with empathy, even if you don't necessarily agree with their perspective. By acknowledging and validating your child's emotions, you demonstrate that you understand and care about their feelings. This approach can help your child feel heard and supported, even if you cannot solve their problem or change their situation. By being empathetic, you create a safe and nurturing environment for your child to express themselves, which can strengthen your relationship and promote healthy emotional development.

Encourage Them to Speak Up

"Encourage Them to Speak Up," emphasizes the importance of creating an environment where your child feels comfortable expressing their thoughts and feelings. By encouraging your child to speak up, you communicate that their opinions and perspectives are valued. This can be achieved by actively listening to what they have to say, showing interest in their ideas, and providing positive reinforcement when they share their thoughts. Encouraging open communication can help your child develop confidence in expressing themselves, strengthen the parent-child bond, and foster a supportive and nurturing relationship.

Follow Up

"Follow Up," involves the practice of checking in with your child after a conversation to demonstrate ongoing interest and support. Following up shows that you value and remember the things your child shares with you, and it reinforces the idea that their thoughts and feelings are important. This can be as simple as asking how they are feeling later in the day after a discussion about their emotions, or following up on a topic they were excited about. By doing so, you convey that you are attentive and caring, which can strengthen the bond between you and your child and encourage them to continue sharing with you.

I hope you find this blog meaningful and help you in deriving some value for your parenting journey. Please feel free to contact me if you have any doubts or suggestions. 

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