Weekender Bahrain, Sunday, December 17 2017

Are you Really Listening to your Child?

admin 02-Nov-2016

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Have you ever felt that the person you’re talking to isn’t taking in what you are saying or been unnoticed? It can be frustrating when you are trying to get your opinion across or to share something you feel is valuable, interesting or important and the person you are talking to is ignoring you. Being ignored makes us feel unimportant and small; it can harm our sense of self. If we can imagine the feeling, we are in a good starting place to think about why listening to kids is vital. Kids are eager to be listened to.

Kids who are listened to are generally confident and balanced. Children who are disregarded can have low self-esteem, shy and tough to communicate with. Parents listen to kids from the second they are born. When they babble, we carry them up and say “Are you talking to me?” while using a positive happy tone of voice and smiling. Unfortunately, far ahead in their lives, and in complicated situations, we forget how essential it is to listen and become snappy or dismissive. Don’t feel guilty, all of us done it. We can all train ourselves to be effective listeners.

Look at the following questions. Some may require details and the rest simply need a yes or no answers. These questions can aid you think about how and if you are listening effectively to your children.

1. Over the past week, has your child said anything that is significant, for example about what has made them feel up or down?

2. How much time do you put to one side this week just to listen to them?

3. Have you given your kid choices to demonstrate that you listen to them?

4. Have you made it clear that you are available if they want to talk?

5. When they talk to you do you impose your own ideas or respect their views?

6. What would you do if your child said something that worries you?

7. Does your child continue to whine? If you are listening does that mean you must do what they want?

8. What do you do if your child interrupts you?

Talking and listening to your children does tons of important things. It inspires them to listen to you and strengthen your bond with them, and. It assists them to form relationships and to build confidence.

The basics

Like so many other things, talking and listening can be done well, just OK, or badly. And with practice you will get better, like any other skills.

Good communication with kids is about:

  • motivating them to talk to you – and listening carefully so they can tell you how they feel
  • being able to listen and replying in a sensitive way to all kinds of things – not just good news or nice things, but also negativity.
  • focusing on actions and body language on top of words, and interpreting nonverbal forms of communication.

Some children need a lot of reassurance and positive feedback to get talking. Some will be eager to talk to you when you’re busy. This may mean pausing what you’re doing and listening.

Top tips for talking and listening

  • Allocate time for talking and listening to one another.
  • Listen to your kids in case they want to talk, have strong feelings or have an issue.
  • Be open to talking about all kinds of feelings, negative feelings. However, talking about feeling angry is different from getting angry. Learning the difference is an important step for a kid learning to communicate.
  • When talking to your child, try to remember how it was when you were a kid and how you were generally attracted to those people who listened to you. After all, there are too many of things they don’t know and lots of things they don’t have the words to talk about.
  • Give your kid a chance to finish talking and then respond, without cutting your kid off, jump in, or lay words in his mouth – even when your kid says something ridiculous or wrong or is having trouble finding the words. Kids value this as much as adults!
  • Use language that your children will understand.
  • Watch your child’s body language and facial expression. Listening isn’t just about hearing words; it is about realizing what’s behind those words as well.
  • Repeat again what your child has said and make lots of eye contact to let your child notice that you’re paying attention, and make certain you’ve understood.
  • Show your attention by saying such things as, ‘Seriously!’, 'Please continue...’, and ‘Tell me more about ...’. Ask children what they feel about the stuff they’re telling you about. 
  • Avoid blame and criticism. If you’re irritated about something your kids done, try and clarify why you need them not to do it again.
  • Work together to solve problems and battles.
  • Be honest with each other.

If you talk and listen to your kids from a very young age, you’ll all grow together and get used to habits that will be very useful once they’re teens. A relationship that is open where kids are comfortable talking about what they’ve been doing and with whom – will encourage kids to tell you about the details of their life when they’re older.

 


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Noora Albinkhalil

She is the Founder and Principal of Al Shorooq Preschool in Riffa. As a working mother, she took it upon herself to offer the safest and most nurturing environment that helps raising her children holistically. She established Al Shorooq Preschool, a children friendly environment that delivers Montessori curriculum. She is the author of several articles on education and management. In addition to writing, she enjoys movie making as a hobby. You can reach her at noora@shorooq-bh.com