Each of wants to feel heard, but how often are we actually? As a parent, we may feel like the conversations we have with our kids centers on what it is they must accomplish and in what time frame. Sound familiar? In our haste we don’t take the time to have easeful conversations.
We want our children to succeed and we take this to mean they have to keep up with their responsibilities and be timely about it. We can sound like a broken record. Over time, our kids start to selectively tune in or out of what it is we’re saying whichresults in a breakdown in communication that doesn’t serve the relationship.
In an effort to get our kids to listen more, we can stay conscious of talking to them on varied subjects, not just their “to do” list. Taking the time to ask about their interests goes such a long way with kids. Sometimes it means not saying a single word and just being present with them.
Our kids learn to listen, by how they are listened to. If we don’t stop what we’re doing, and focus on what they’re saying, the message we give them can appear to say, ”I’m not listening.” They don’t feel heard. One of the greatest gifts we can give our child is looking them in the eye when they are speaking to us, or when we’re speaking to them.
Listening is an art and to be really good at it you must practice stillness of mind, eye contact and an ease of focus toward who ever you are conversing with. We can teach our children to listen by listening to them. They’ll be more likely to become great listeners in the future and have better success in this area of their relationships.
There is also a certain level of illusion to whether our kids are actually listening to us. It’s best not to be fooled by appearances, as they often are listening but make sure it appears like they’re not. Haven’t we had the experience where we feel tuned out but at a later date our child shows us by what they’re saying that they were indeed hearing us?
As our children get older and become teens, they move toward being more independent, and this may show up as a “listening” wall that can’t be penetrated. If we can practice not being attached to a certain result and stay true to the art of listening we increase our chances of them hearing us. This is indeed a practice. In other words, when we’re talking to them and they won’t acknowledge us we can choose to be reactive or we can choose to say what we have to say with ease. There are few things that stop someone from listening to us faster than when we go into reactive mode.
Our beliefs and expectations shape all of our experiences, and being listened to is no exception. Expect that you are being heard and chances are you will be. By allowing situations to unfold without being attached to certain results you create openness and increase the probability that your child is indeed listening.
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© 2014. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.