Listen deeply to your kids

November 13, 2010

Have you ever wanted a better relationship with your kids? One way to achieve this is to learn to listen deeply. I’m talking about not just hearing their words, but listening to what’s behind the words. Not only will your relationships improve, but your children will build greater confidence in themselves.

The other day my 11-year-old told me about a situation that troubled her. Someone had put words in her mouth and suggested she had certain views that my daughter didn’t really share. My daughter didn’t know if she should correct this adult or let it go.

As we talked and I listened, I realized there are certain steps to listening deeply:

  1. I stopped what I was doing and slowed myself down. It was clear this was an important issue and I needed to pay attention.
  2. I asked questions about the situation to clarify what happened.
  3. I helped her identify the principles involved – Was this an issue of honesty? Integrity? Courtesy?
  4. I helped her develop a plan of action for when this situation happens again.

When we finished, she felt like she had tools for dealing with future situations and I learned a lot about where she is in her social development.

Can you imagine if young people everywhere had someone who could listen deeply to them and help them sort out their experiences?

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