Listening is an important part of being a good parent. You may think you know what is really going on when in reality, you don’t. Things are not always the way they seem. For example, you may assume the older kid started a fight with his sibling when in reality, the younger kid started it to get your attention. If you didn’t see it, you don’t know what provoked the fight.
Here are a couple more good reasons to listen to your children. You can learn so much about them and their personalities when you listen to them talk. You learn what is going on inside their head instead of trying to guess at it. It also shows respect for your child, which he will repay by listening to you when you talk. Now that you understand the importance of listening, you need to know how to improve your listening skills.
Here’s how to listen to your children better:
- Set aside a special time during the day where you sit down and just listen to your child talk for at least 15 or 20 minutes. Of course, you may be able to talk longer depending on your schedule and how many kids you have.
- Be patient and let your kids finish the whole conversation before commenting. This can be difficult sometimes but it’s important. Kids often take the long way around to get to the point and if you interrupt, it will take even longer or they’ll get off track. Just listen patiently and then comment when they’re finished.
- Put yourself in their shoes. Think about how you would have felt if dealing with a similar situation when you were a child. It will help you understand what your kids are feeling when talking to you. As a result, it will help you be a better listener because you can relate.
- Be prepared to listen when you least expect it. Planning talks where you can listen to your kids is good but there will be times when they need to talk about something important that can’t wait. Also, you can learn a lot more from kids when they spontaneously burst into conversation. Unless you’re conducting business or doing something that requires your full attention, you can listen to them talk while cooking, cleaning and doing other tasks around the home.
Parents who listen, teach their kids to listen better and that is a skill they will use throughout their entire life. It’s easy to get so burdened down with responsibilities and taking care of business that parents neglect to listen to their children.
As a result, they miss out on a lot of opportunities to learn who their kids are and what type of person they’re growing into. Take time to become a better listener and it will make a difference in the type of relationship you have with your kids.