As discussed in my previous post I’ve decided not to binge on resolutions this year, despite this I have decided to try harder at some aspects of my existence. One of these is to listen to my son better.
He sometimes complains that I don’t listen to him, I’d love to claim that this is an over-reaction but I’m not sure it is.
I have set about getting a bit of info on the matter. I looked at the Australian parenting website raisingchildren.net.au (I mean, how often do you see a bronzed, surf dude Aussie child looking depressed?!). According to the site talking and listening to children covers lots of important areas. It improves the parent/child bond, it makes them more likely to listen to you and it helps them build relationships and build self-
Sounds like it might be worth doing! I’ll paraphrase some of the excellent tips cited on the website.
• Set time aside for talking and listening, we use mealtimes to do this. It’s a time with no sound or vision pollution from the TV!
• Be open to talking about all kinds of feelings. Children often don’t know the exact words to describe their feelings.
• Let your child finish talking and then respond. I hold my hands up and admit that I am terrible at this. My son often takes a while to say something and it seems to be a good time saving device to answer his question before he’s finished it!
• Watch your child’s facial expression and body language, even when they don’t have the exact spoken terminology they can communicate a great deal this way.
• Avoid criticism and blame, work together to resolve conflicts
• Be honest with each other.
The expectation is that talking and listening habits are formed when children are younger in the hope that when they reach those wonderfully communicative teenage years they will feel more comfortable about telling you the details of their life – hope springs eternal but I reckon it’s definitely worth a try!