How to Be a Listening Parent

on Friday, 03 February 2012. Posted in Parenting, Kid's Health Written By: Shruti Gaddam

Develop listening skills and cement a healthy, lifelong bond with your child.

How to Be a Listening Parent

Kids are very perceptive. They know when you are listening to them and when you are not. Being a listening parent plays a very important role in the growth of a child. Also, when you are interested in what your child says, the child feels cared for and more enthusiastic in sharing things with you. On the contrary, if you do not pay attention to what your child has to say, you are sowing seeds of an invisible wall that can grow into a major rift in the family.

Here are some excellent tips to become a listening parent and get your child to talk to you:

Respond to baby sounds
Your training as a good listener begins when you become a parent. A child begins to communicate much before he learns to form words. Cooing, crying, smiling and whimpering are all ways in which your baby tries to communicate with you. So, be sensitive to those adorable baby sounds. Read expressions and respond to cooing. Do not ignore them as illegible sounds because this can very well be the child’s first lesson in interactive communication.

Always pay attention

Parenting Trivia

Not listening to your child amounts to neglect and can develop negative character traits in him

Being a listening parent reduces risk of ***ADHD***, aggression and juvenile crime in children

No matter how trivial a thing your child might want to share with you, leave everything and pay attention. These trivial talks give you a lot of inputs into what goes on in your child’s mind. Never ignore or overlook a sentence. Look towards your child when he or she is talking, it’ll make them feel heard.

Never cut short a conversation
Even though you might understand what your child is going to say next, do not cut the conversation short; just because you ‘presumably understood’. Hear out the complete thing and respond accordingly. This helps build confidence in children to speak out their mind.

Get your child to talk
Some kids are introverts by nature and do not open up about their feelings and emotions. Recognize such characteristics in your child and encourage him or her to speak. Ask questions about their day. Respond when they talk. Look interested and be interested. Be expressive yourself so that the child emulates you. Take some time out from whatever you are doing and show interest in what the child has to say.

Get into the child’s shoes
There is a vast difference between the way you think and the way your child thinks and analyzes things. So, when you talk to your child or listen to him, do not think like an adult. Most importantly, do not ridicule the child and tell him that he is being silly. Rather, react positively, ask more questions about what really happened and help the child analyze the situation. Gently tell him if he is wrong without making him feel guilty about it.

Listen to the silence
Children don’t always communicate with words. Often, gestures and facial expressions speak volumes. In fact, children are pretty good at non verbal communication. Understand their silence. Give them some time. If they do not come to you, take the initiative and talk to the child. Gentle prompting sometimes brings out a sea of words. So, it is as important to be a receptive and perceptive parent as it is to be a listening one.

Listening to a child is the first step in establishing a strong parent-child relationship. Unless you listen to your kid, you cannot expect him to talk to you when he grows to be a teenager. Healthy communication at home develops a lot of positive characteristics in the child. So, be a listening parent and watch your child grow into a mature listening adult.

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