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Develop your Active Listening Skills!

Active listening skills are vital for both parents and children to develop. Empathic listening is a skill that needs to be practiced over and over again in order to master it. This technique is so important, as listening to kids makes them feel important and valued. Children are very astute and can tell if you are really listening or merely just nodding and pretending to hear. Deep listening enables meaningful and positive relationships to develop.

This skill entails really hearing the messages from your son or daughter.

The steps are :

  • comprehending
  • retaining
  • responding

Children will go through various stages of emotional development. It is important for parents to tailor their listening skills to the developmental stage of their kids.

Practicing active or emphatic techniques to hearing what is being said, that will promote a deeper bond with your child s a great idea. This is so important to their self-esteem.

Sometimes, especially with teenagers, they maybe embarrassed to talk about things such as sex or other issues, and direct eye contact need not be used. Sometimes, these conversations are good to have in the car but you can still practice the other skills above.

Reading books is also a great way to start these types of discussions.

It is essential your child can express his/her emotions clearly so also practice developing emotional literacy.

Hearing what another honestly says is a two way process. Teach your child to be an active listener as well! Empathetic listening develops empathy in people who use it. Although parents often want to jump it and relate by sharing their own experiences it is vital to first hear what kids are saying and to validate that.

1. Stop what you are doing and turn and look directly at your son or daughter

2. Turn off the TV, radio or other distractions

3. Look at your child in the eyes

4. Focus on the conversations, thinking only of receiving the message your little one is trying to pass on to you

5. Don't interrupt. Nod your head, say yes, I see etc.... but do not jump in and try to offer your opinion unless it is asked for (you may offer this later once you have really heard from them)

6. Open your mind and do not judge. Let your child finish talking and explaining how they feel

7. Clarify what you have heard by saying for example "I hear that you said you feel upset about...."

Active Listening Skills

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