“Are you listening to me”?
Since I returned to Chicago two weeks ago it has been frigid, with a mixture of snow and ice…
I cannot remember when the cold has been this bad for so long…it seems like many years since I made sure I had a blanket and supplies in my car just in case it was needed!
At least, I no longer have a diesel engine car which would freeze and just refuse to go anywhere in the cold.
During the past few weeks, I have taken a hiatus. With all the cold I was beginning to think my brain has frozen along with my keyboard…
A few days ago, I came across an important piece about active listening…
There just doesn’t seem to be anything more important than actually listening to our children and grandchildren to help them develop empathy, feel validated and remain willing to talk to us.
As a social worker and nurse, listening skills were paramount while caring for others… listening both with my ears and my eyes. Body language can also tell you how a person really feels and whether their words are contradicted by their bodies.
When I was growing up in the 50′s…there was a mantra…”children should be seen and not heard”.
I was never quite sure what was actually meant by this statement. What I do know, is that as the youngest member of my family, I always made myself known.
Over the years, it seems this saying has disappeared and to that I would say, “good riddance”!
Children speak to us in so many ways…through solo play with their toys, through our interactions with them, through body language and through behavior such as crying and tantrums.
Listening to your child with your undivided attention can derail a tantrum…really!
Making sure you understand what he is trying to tell you with his actions and his words is a very powerful tool…it actually shows your child that you care about how he is feeling.
I know, I feel so appreciative of someone, who really listens to me and is not trying to formulate a response while I am talking.
Children appreciate real listening as well and will continue to seek you out as they get older if you are a good listener when they are young.
So…try active listening…it is not easy. Beforehand, you may have to step back and center yourself rather than scream out loud as you step forward with open ears, eyes and arms.
Active listening improves communication in the parent child relationship.