Knowing doesn’t mean doing. This phrase always hit hard for me. As a parent, my day sometime not a very effective one. And I have regrets because not maximizing all the resources that I have in hand to guide my kids, and feel lacking as parent. Hope none of you feel this way.
One of the skill that I need to grow continuously is listening skill. To listen, we need to make a conscious effort not to just hear what people are saying but to take it in, digest it and understand. Not only does listening enhance your ability to understand better and make you a better communicator, it also makes the experience of speaking to you more enjoyable to other people. And This skill is a very important in parenting, because we want to have better connection with our kids. And Communication is the key.
Looking back to my non productive days, I tend to ignore all the voices from my kids. So caught up with my own problems and need, and missed all the little signs and voices that come from my children.
Hearing is not necessary listening. Sometime we hear when our kid say something like “Mommy, this math problem is confusing”. But if we only hearing, our response maybe just simple like “Please try again son, I will check it later”. By then times goes by and no more communication after that. We missed all the signs that our kid need help to understand some problem and we can support them more, missed the chances to have two way communication with them, and in long term could cause disconnection.
In Parenting, we need to learn to be active listener to understand our kids better. Active Listening is a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding. It is an important first step to defuse the situation and seek solutions to problems.
There some points to be active listener, and it’s not really a rocket science but it’s not coming naturally to some of us and we need to make conscious effort to do it.
First – PAY ATTENTION. This is important to pay attention and make sure the other party also know that we are paying attention to what they are saying. Look at who is talking, show interest, and do not talk or interrupt. If we are listening to younger kids we need to ensure our eye level is the same with them by lowering our position or lift them up.
Second – ASK QUESTION. Response by asking questions is matter to show you are listening and the other party fell connected with you. You can ask specific question to clarify some of the matter, paraphrasing your understanding. For example, I could have response better to my son above by saying “Oh ok, let mommy help you, which part of this math problem that you did not understand?“
Continuously build trust and rapport by demonstrate concern, responding appropriately, provide feedback, deffer judgement is the next part that we need to do to have effective listening with our child and have better communication. Responding appropriately mean we can use verbal affirmation like : OK, I see, etc.
All of these for sure not come naturally for me. Especially often that I did not properly listen because of being distracted by other things, or being wrap up in my thoughts. So I hope by writing again these points for my self reminder, I will be able to continuously practice and hope sharing this a bit also could help other mom who might have the same issues. Cheers !