By Stephen Walton
Improving listening skills as a parent will set the tone of respect and admiration for your child. Your child will feel that his/her thoughts, beliefs and personal opinions are important. Although sometimes challenging, it is also an opportunity for personal growth.
Once you purposefully strive to develop good listening skills and not only focus on speaking, you will notice a significant shift in your own personal awareness of the way your child views the world.
Listen well with an open state of mind and savour your child's inner beauty, personality, and the wonderful uniqueness within your child.
Always respect what they have to say, they are worthy of being both heard and understood.
"A child seldom needs a good talking to as a good listening to"
~ Robert Brault ~
Below are ten easy steps for improving listening skills that are very simple strategies to apply. With a little patience and perseverance they are proven ways for parents to develop good listening skills that are... worth their weight in gold.
Exercise each one with a commitment of genuine sincerity.
1) Purposefully strive to focus on listening with an open mind, refrain from jumping to conclusions or forming an opinion while your child is talking.
2) Do not hurry them, listening requires patience. Wait for your child's thoughts to take shape and give time for the words to form and find expression.
3) Always show respect and courtesy in listening to what your child has to say, no matter how much you may disagree with them.
4) Your own body language is important, make eye contact and always provide your attentive and undivided attention.
5) Don't be thinking about how you will respond as this will take your concentration away from what they are really saying.
6) Exercise awareness of your child's nonverbal cues, facial expression, tone of voice, body stance, general mood and attitude.
7) Don't interrupt, hear them out and wait for the appropriate opportunity to ask questions.
8) Always remain calm when listening and never show your personal feelings of anger or disappointment.
9) Think of listening as personal growth as your children will always have something to say which will help you to grow.
10) Practice active listening with your heart to genuinely empathize with your child. Put yourself in their shoes to genuinely understand their feelings and emotions.
Ponder the following adolescent's plea to adults.
From the book, "Right Listening," by Mark Brady
...Developing listening skills does not always come easy for many people, including myself. I often need to remind myself to consciously focus on the speaker. The good news is however, it does get easier with practice, and in time begins to feel natural.
Here are some more articles with ideas for improving listening skills.
We hope you enjoy them.