Active listening is all about giving full attention and respect to the speaker with an open heart, no judgment. This is one of the hardest parts of positive communication. Many parents expect children to listen to them, but parents often forget that they have to listen to children too. Children, just like adults, have negative emotions, hardships and opinions they would like to share and express. In positive parenting, we encourage two-way communication between parents and children.
Do's & Don'ts
1. Listen with your heart
Listen with an open heart and open mind. Let children know that you are there to listen to their feelings and thoughts and that they can trust you with their problems.
2. Open to suggestions and opinions
Staying under the same roof with children means they can have some say in decision making too. You may include them in your discussion about household matters like chores, decorations, house rules. Just because they are children does not mean they can't make the right decisions. Give children the opportunity to express their opinions and troubleshoot household matters and guide them through the process of problem-solving.
3. Do not interrupt
The first rule of thumb: Listen first, talk later.
Listen to what your child has to say first. Don't jump to conclusion and insert your views and opinions. You can do that after. Your role here is to listen. Respect your child, give him the time and space to express himself.
4. Do not criticise
Your child is opening up to you because he trusts you. He chooses to tell you because he knows you will have his back and support him. Criticising and judging will put children down and hurt their feelings. They need your advice and guidance, not criticism. I know as parents you will have a lot to say, keep it. Just acknowledge what your child has told you and wait until they are ready to take in your opinion.
Parents, I know you can be good listeners. Remember, 'listen first, talk later'. Together, you can build a trusting and secure parent-child relationship.