Parent Listening Skills

Active listening allows a parent to connect with their child. Connecting skills keep your relationship strong. You want your teens to trust that you will support their development. Active listening communicates that you REALLY care about your child.

“Listen earnestly to anything [your children] want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.” – Catherine M. Wallace

#1 –
– Notice body language clues (such as looks of confusion, sadness or anger),
– Face the child (Turn your body toward the speaker),
– Engage in eye-contact (Do not look at the computer, your work, or phone while actively listening),
– Use good starter questions (such as “What happened at school today?”), and
– Avoid quick fixes to their problems (This shuts off the child’s talking and problem solving).
Don’t get distracted, change the subject, criticize or judge, or interrupt.

#2 –
– Use “Tell me more” phrases to keep the conversation rolling and get more details (such as “Can you explain that?”) and
– Summarize (Rephrase what they said in your own words to show you WERE listening and to make sure you understood what the teen was saying).
>Don’t get distracted, change the subject, criticize or judge, or interrupt.

#3 –
– Show that you understand their feelings (You may ask, “How did that make you feel?” and follow up with an understanding thought or phrase like, “I understand why that would have made you sad…”) The four major feelings are: Mad, Glad, Sad, and Afraid, but there are others of course.
– Encourage your teen to be his best. Show that he is important to you and that you believe in them by making them a priority and REALLY listening to them.
>Don’t get distracted, change the subject, criticize or judge, or interrupt.

What skill are you going to work on this week? I am going to work on avoiding quick fixes. I want Curt and Adam to know that I really care about them. If I am not actively listening to them, not only will they sense I don’t care, but maybe I really don’t. Woah!

“Purposeful Parenting” by Joy Jones and Bonnie Cordon

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