An unknown philosophy riddle asks if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound? Does it? Of course, it does, but it takes an ear to listen to the sound. Therefore, for children to listen, it requires us to listen to.
A mum told her son to go take a snap in the afternoon as she moved out of the house to talk to a friend. Within few minutes, her son came to her saying, ” Mum I am done”. Being an African mum, she quickly picked up a slipper to beat him for being disobedient and shouted in a loud voice, I told you to go and sleep. She did not listen to him. In fear, he run back to the house saying, I am done pooping Please clean me. Before we blame our children and make quick decisions to discipline them, we should get facts. Ask your child why, how, really and wait for the response.
Children whose parents listen too are more advantaged compared to other children. Listed are some of the benefits of listening emphatically to your children.
- Helps in building trust between you and the child.
- Helps children talk through their problem.
- According to the crisis prevention institute, Listening allows your child to vent. Children release their feelings, in a safe place, without having to hear advice or judgment about their behaviour.
- It is the way to demonstrate to your children that you understand them and their feelings.
How to get your child to listen to you
Here are some of the steps that parents can take to practice listening.
Let the child to do the talking: shut up and listen to what your child has to say. Have you ever experienced the naughty two and their aggressive behaviour? Well, the solution to correct their behaviour is listening to them and giving them answers.
Focus on how the child feels more than facts: Consider making your child feel better by reading their emotions. Is the child angry, powerless or scared? Get the message straight from the child by letting them narrate the story to you.
Do not judge: when your child admits to the problem, do not judge no matter how big the problem is. Otherwise, you may sound more of a lecturer. I hope you have heard of teenagers who say, you sound like my mum, and they walk away. It is because parents are judgemental, and this creates a distance between them.
Give your child all the attention: Stop everything that you are doing and give all your eyes and ears to your child. All children right from toddlers to teenagers need undivided attention to trust you with what they know. You can use a facial expression like nodding and eye contact to show your child that all that matters at that moment is your conversation.
You notice that when you are communicating with the children, you need to be an emphatic listener. You will therefore build trust and a rapport between you and your child.