How To Actively Listen To Your Child

One of the best ways to communicate with your children is to listen to what they say, not absentmindedly but actively! So what exactly is active listening? This means listening carefully to your child, and exploring the nuances of everything that he or she says.

This may sound very obvious, but what many parents do not realize is that they tune out voices especially when they’re busy, and this happens with their kids too. Try to concentrate of the eyes of your child, although you must also be aware of the body language: the posture, tone of voice, movements, etc.

Try to control your urge of coming up with advice or ‘quick fixes’ since they may not be what your child wants to hear from you. Just sit and listen. Just like adults, kids want to be heard, and for them, you’re the only people who do hear.

Active listening enables a parent to know how to respond to what is being said: One of the most important factors of communication. In any case, try not to parrot what you’ve heard. Listen with your brain, not just your ears. When you reflect the matter your child talks of in your own words, you show your little one that you have heard, as well as understood.

Sometimes, you may have a case of sympathy. If your child wants to punch a sibling, you as a parent do not have to go along with it. You should, however, try to understand why the child desires to do so and attempt to resolve the matter. Telling your child ‘You don’t really mean that’ isn’t really helpful, although it may be true. Don’t always dismiss negative thoughts; they should be expressed and released rather than bottled up.

A parent must always be objective, even if they cannot truly be ethically and emotionally unbiased. So try to actively listen to the words your child is saying, before you can attempt to understand the emotions and opinions behind them.

Sometimes conversations may be spur-of-the-moment. Parents have busy lives, fulfilling parenting roles as well as earning a living. So although it’s a parenting ideal to actively listen, sometimes it’s just not possible. It’s important that a child realize that, so that he or she does not feel unwanted.

If you keep telling your child to ‘tell me later’ then your child will ultimately lose all confidence and interest in talking to you. Being open to actively listen all the time is quite important. If your child loses interest in talking to you, he or she will have no one to talk to. This can lead to psychological problems which are very tough to undo.

Luckily, the parenting experts have come to the rescue! There are many interesting and varied ways of dealing with this dilemma.

If your child is old enough, encourage a creative game where they can write down whatever is on their mind; thoughts, emotions, ideas, or even things they’ve seen during the day, and put the piece of paper in a cookie jar or send it expressly through email. This method must only be used if the parent is extremely busy or otherwise unavailable. It does not substitute regular active talking though, because it might become a way to avoid personal communication.

No matter how you do the listening, make sure that you’re giving your kids the freedom to express themselves completely. Encourage them to have their own opinions, and allow them to exhibit any viewpoints they desire to.

Remember, you don’t have to be morally or even emotionally neutral to anything your child says. After all, kids do not have the experience and knowledge of ethics that adults do. When you see something, you can promptly tell if its right or wrong- a child can’t. This is why he or she should be listened to, and taught- especially by the actively listening parent.

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Communicating With Your Kids

There are very few factors of parenting that are as important as communication. For human beings, there is nothing as fundamental and effective as communication, which is the cornerstone of all our relationships, especially with family and friends.

However, developing proper tactics for communication, based on sound methodology, is a difficult process. Human beings differ so drastically in age, temperament, situation analysis and circumstances that one plan which is said to be the one-size-fits-all approach can never work, right from the beginning.

Does this, however, mean that parents need to develop methods for communicating with their kids themselves? Luckily for them, no! Cognitive studies as well as experience gained through the generations tells us otherwise. There are plenty of techniques that are tried-and-true, which work well when communicating with kids.

The fundamental factor featured above accounts for one of them. Individuals vary in different ways, and a method which accepts this as a basis has a healthier chance of providing good results.

One of the effective communication approaches starts of by openly recognizing and dealing with facts. Honesty is the major requirement. Kids are very intuitive and will easily realize if you’re lying to them. However, this does not mean that parents should be too frank with their kids. After all, as parents and human beings, they have a right to their privacy too!

How much you tell your kids depends on the matter and manner of the conversation, as well as the degree of interest displayed. The child’s age is to be considered here, as is the situation. If you want to communicate a lesson to your child about the sanctity of other peoples property, make sure you choose the right time and place.

Also, a good springboard for communication is the use of a shared experience, such as a shopping trip undertaken by the two of you, or even a program watched on television. Try to have a discussion with your child, rather than a lecture.

Then, your kids will perceive that their viewpoints are being respected, even as they gain confidence and esteem from the experience of communicating well with their parents. Kids don’t know as much as their parents do, and are always looking to them for input. If you use this communication approach consistently, your kids will gain a lot from your honesty and respectful manner of conversation.

If you keep the rules, follow them too. Kids are quite sharp when it comes to noticing inconsistencies between your behavior and the rules! This hypocrisy can sometimes be mentioned at a very embarrassing place and time for you, so beware!

Listening actively, with your ears and your brain, is one of the components of good communication. Kids have their own point of view, and want to share it. Let them. We always hear of ‘out of the mouths of babes’. This is the wisdom and attention to detail that kids exhibit often, and can be very refreshing and insightful.

Echoing back what the child has said in your own words makes the child believe that his or her words have been listened to and understood. It also benefits the child who can enjoy the additional input from the parent’s vast experience of life. The parents benefit by seeing their child develop and derive joy from the experience of communication with this one person who forms the entire world for them.

Sometimes, this communication approach is known as the ‘stop, look and listen’ approach. Basically, it requires that the parent stop what he or she is doing, look directly at the little one and listen without interrupting before providing the response. This works best when it is feasible for the parent: when the parent isn’t too busy.

This method aids the child in practicing the art of communication in an environment where respect abounds, and enables the parent to get a lot of information and feedback from the child as to what the child is doing, how he or she is going about it and benefiting from it.

So using this approach, you’re looking at a win-win situation: both for your child and for you! Best of luck!

Disciplining Your Child Effectively

When one thinks of discipline, the images that come to mind are of heavy corporal punishments, irrational restrictions and parents who are extremely cold and uncaring about their child’s plight. Due to this, most parents feel that they would rather be veering on the other end of the scale, and thus tend to give their kids all types of freedom possible.

However, the solution to this dilemma has been discovered in the last few decades. This third option recognizes the characteristics of human beings that are common the world over, as well as leaves room for the individual personality variations.

All of us have capabilities which develop as time goes by. This is why a parent cannot deal with a teen using the discipline measures of a two-year old, and vice versa. This is to say that a parent cannot enforce a two year old toddler to respect the boundaries of the rights of siblings by forcibly grabbing a toy! In the same manner, a parent cannot use timeout as a suitable form of discipline for a teen.

The fundamental factor behind the ‘age appropriate discipline’ is to realize the actual character of your child before you mete out any form of discipline for it to be effective. This encompasses more than the age of the child, although age is one of the most important factors to be taken into consideration.

The other factors to be considered are the intelligence of the child, the ability to understand rules and warnings, the temperament as well as the physical capabilities. Don’t ask your child to comply with something that is out of his or her reach. Of course, it is a tough task to determine exactly how much your child can understand and follow.

Sometimes parents display a disregard for conditions such as dyslexia, thinking that their child is a rebel, and disciplining him or her. This condition affects a child’s understanding of what is required of them, especially when the parents have a set of written rules. Dyslexia can cause a child to understand a speech sequence backwards, as well as have a lot of difficulties in the processing of fast speech. This causes parents to be frustrated with what they think is a wilful disregard for rules.

Most times, the cause of this disorder lies more with the parent than the child. As a parent, you need to be exact in your speech as portray it in a manner that is properly understood by your child. You may not realize it, but anger can cause words to run together, making the situation worse for you child.

Hence, before you try any form of disciplining, take a few minutes to get your temper under control. Leaving the room for a few minutes is advised. This teaches your child that decisions must not be made in the face of anger, as well as enables you to regain your control. It also teaches the child that a good outcome using reason is possible from a bad situation.

This is, in itself, is a very good discipline lesson: After all, every type of discipline leads to self-discipline! As any parent will tell you, kids are very different and individual in nature, so no matter what type of discipline you use, they will eventually end up making their own decisions! So if you don’t wish to be bad-tempered with your child all the time, you need to accept that kids have a free will!

Decision-making makes for independence, and independence makes for healthy adulthood. So help your child see the folly of bad decisions, and praise the good ones. It is, after all, one of the best gifts you can give to your child!