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Monday, January 24, 2022

Actively Listening to Your Children Can Help Them Grow Up Feeling Loved

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As a parent, communicating with your children can be challenging at times. Particularly when they are feeling ignored or upset themselves. Parents need to develop and use good communication skills with their children. 

Having good communication skills is one of the fundamental components of creating a solid relationship with your child. 

It also conveys understanding to your children, especially if they are feeling neglected or misunderstood.  As a parent, remember that your child’s feelings, views, and opinions have worth. 

It’s often easy to react rather than respond to something, but if you make a point to do the opposite, you will find it is much more helpful for both you and your children.  

Responding is different from reacting when you communicate deeply with your children. When you respond, it gives your child the chance to open up about their feelings without fear of being reprimanded because they feel the way they do.  Children do not feel the threat of punishment when parents respond instead of reacting.

Reacting comes off as judgmental because it conveys that what your child is feeling isn’t valid or worth listening to. But when you allow them to talk out their feelings freely without judgment, it can help them realize why they feel the way they do. It can also teach them why it is wrong to act upon those emotions negatively.

Responding also allows you to work out a solution or plan with your child that maybe they would not have come up with on their own. Your child will also learn to appreciate that you understand how they feel.

When you are actively listening, it is vital to give your child undivided attention.  Stop everything you are doing so you can listen intently while making eye contact with your child. Keep calm, be inquisitive, and afterward offer potential solutions to the problem.  

Children must understand there are many emotions. So, don’t discourage them from feeling anger, frustration, or sadness.  As a parent, your first instinct may be to protect your children.  You may want to minimize their feelings because you want to protect them.  But this can be detrimental.  

Instead, ask open-ended questions when the answers to the closed-ended ones you’ve already received don’t make sense or do not appear to be truthful. These questions are thought-provoking and will help your child develop critical thinking skills.

Having thought-provoking conversations with your child often also shows them how much you love them and that you are sincerely interested in allowing them to express themselves, even if you disagree. Help your child brainstorm potential solutions or ideas after you fully understand what they are feeling and why.

As parents, it can be challenging to know how to best listen to your child when they are struggling with their emotions.  It is important to actively listen to our children when they talk about their problems. Actively listening conveys the message that you care, are willing to help them, and have similar experiences of our own.

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