Developing a strong bond with children is crucial in this day and age. Trust and honesty should be practiced within the family for creating a positive atmosphere in the house. Age-gap plays an important role to nurture a pleasant understanding relationship – where listening is the base to a strong foundation. Listening is the most important mode of communication where the ability to accurately receive and interpret messages is tested and tried. It is important to strike a right chord so it becomes easier to pass the message, thoughts and emotions. Oftentimes, we listen, keeping in mind to give a response compared to actually understanding. This creates unrest between the two and results in hurt.
What should one do in order to overcome this behaviour? Active listening is the answer!
What is Active Listening?
As the name suggests, the process of giving undivided attention to the speaker is ‘Active listening’. The way to improve your listening skills is to practice this technique. Conscious efforts are put in to hear not only the words that another person is saying but, more importantly, the complete message being communicated. By constantly working on this, one can improve its information processing, understanding, peace of mind and maturity. Active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening.
This is a good way to improve communication with your kids. Oftentimes we brush off a child’s problems given the day parents have gone through. It should be our goal to make the child understand that their words aren’t left unspoken and nurture trust and love between the two.
How do we show our child that we are actually listening?
Self-introspection shows your child that you actually understand and relate to their problems. Reflection can be done on two principles: Emotions and words.
Reflecting on words
When you reflect on your child’s words, you allow yourself to understand them with their words. This makes the child to share more. Acknowledging their query with a slight nod gives them the needed confidence.
Reflecting on emotions
When you reflect on your child’s emotions, try to see what your child is feeling while he/she is sharing with you. Reassure them that talking about their feelings is okay. This is not easy but with mutual trust and love, it could be beneficial in understanding your child.
What are the benefits of Active Listening?
Active Listening is an important tool which benefits us both, personally and professionally. Here are three benefits of Active learning: a) Give and earn respect b) Better solution responding c) Diffuse conflict
a) Give and earn respect
Stress and pressure fuels the home-environment. With every individual having a particular way to deal with problems, it gets tough to find a common-ground for the two. Dropping your level of understanding and words in order to connect with your child is a task for parents and it’s seen that kids’ problems are shrugged off.
Whether you’re a mother or a father, respecting your child’s emotions, thoughts and words results in them respecting and looking up to you as individuals and parents. Acknowledge their plight and reciprocate accordingly.
b) Solution-driven thought
When you are actively listening to your child, your undivided attention helps you understand problems better and deriving solutions becomes more efficient. Instead of beating around the bush of who is right or wrong, coming to a space which suffices both people is achievable only through active learning.
c) Diffuse conflict
Understanding both sides of a story gives us a better perspective on right and wrong. Although you may not always agree with others’ opinions, it’s important to be open to the experiences and perspectives of your kids, and the best way to demonstrate this is through active listening.
Parents should practice active listening, being mindful of their child’s problems and guide them towards working against the problem. We can facilitate, reflect and support without taking over control of our child’s problems. Children who feel respectfully listened to tend to much more freely seek their parent’s advice and guidance.