Parenting Skills

Active Listening: A Key Skill for Creating Happy Harmonious Families

Active listening boy and grandmother

Active listening is a key skill needed in rearing a family and creating a happy harmonious family home.  It is actively listening to what your child is really saying, summarizing what your child has said and reflecting back the feelings behind the words the child has said.  It is checking in to see that you have got the exact meaning of what your child is saying.  It means hearing the tone, volume, the body language, intensity in the words the child has spoken and showing that you have understood the message they are trying to get across.  Its hearing and understanding the child’s communication.

Benefits of Active Listening to Parents

  1. You get to the root of what your child is saying
  2. You pick up on any problems quickly and easily avoid escalation of the problem
  3. You gain greater knowledge of your child’s likes, dislikes, fears, worries, interests etc.
  4. It facilitates the building of a strong bond between you and your child
  5. It creates empathy in your relationship and attunement in the relationship
  6. You teach your child a skill that will benefits the life and relationships of your child
  7. You teach your child the language of emotions, helping your child to deal with their inner world
  8. Your child feels loved, important in his parents life leading to self-confidence and self-esteem

Benefits of Active Listening to the Child

  1. Your child feels listened to, understood, loved and important in his world
  2. Your child learns to express themselves, learn to express their emotions
  3. Your child learns the skill of active listening which helps them to build relationships
  4. Your child learns about their internal self
  5. You can prepare your child for major events e.g. starting school etc.

Examples of Active Listening

For example if your child says ‘I hate school, I don’t want to go anymore’  You might say ‘I hear you saying you hate school and don’t want to go anymore.  It sounds like you are really fed up with school in the same tone of voice as your child has spoken.  Wait for your child’s reply.

Child: ‘Yes, I am, there is only maths and more maths all day long.

Parent: That sounds like a lot of maths and you don’t like it.

Child: ‘Yes, why can’t we do history or something else interesting?’

Parent: It seems like school is boring you, you are not doing what you enjoy.

In this conversation the child has vented his frustration about his dislike of Maths.  The parent has learnt about the child’s real interest.  The child has expressed his feeling gaining the opportunity to process his frustrations and let go of them.

That is active listening.  Each and every parent has daily examples of the above.  Let me know, in the comments below, how actively listening to your child has made a difference to them?  Also if you have any questions or “yeah buts” lets chat about them in the comments.

Wishing you a happy, harmonious home,

Grainne xx

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