Why Is It Important To Listen To Your Child?
Why Is It Important To Listen To Your Child?
Our lives are filled with busy days, especially the demands placed on parents today are greater than ever. Juggling between work, household chores, parenting, and the general busyness of everyday life and a myriad of demands placed on our time and attention along with the distractions of technology makes us feel stretched and even disconnected in today’s fast-paced high-tech world.
While some of us know that listening to children is important, it is the general assumption of many parents that their child should listen to them and not the other way around, however, listening to your children is way more essential than you can ever think.
By listening, we mean to listen without fixing, without judgment, with no other distraction, and to be fully present and listen with plenty of time so that children can form and articulate what they are thinking.
Research has it that listening to your child makes it more likely that they listen to you as well. This is on the simple principle that when children feel listened to or understood, they are more likely to listen attentively and try to understand what the parent is trying to convey. Therefore, we will look at why attentive listening is important in the child’s growth and development in this blog.
1. Listening to your child will strengthen your bond:
By actively listening to your child, you show them what they are saying is important to you, which will build your child’s confidence, develop their trust, and will also help your child build stronger bonds with you. This is especially true for young children that are constantly learning how to navigate the world by taking cues from their parents.
So by patiently listening to them, actively engaging in conversation, and allowing them enough time to express themselves at their own pace, you create a haven for them to express themselves and to find their own voice which is a very important aspect later on in their lives as well.
2. Helps them in communication:
Listening is such an important element of good communication which most of us often overlook.
When young children feel that their thoughts, opinions, and feelings are being valued, they are more likely to continue and share them with you well into their teenage and adult years. Though trying to wiggle out information about their life, both good or bad when they are in their teenage years, could be a dreaded task, it is much easier to make open communication the norm now. As when kids are little, they are more likely to develop open communication, which will continue a lot more easily further down the road.
3. Helps in the development of social skills:
By attentively listening to your child, you are being a fabulous role model for them, to develop positive social relationships.
Talking to your child regularly will serve as a practice for them to deal with the outside world, which will, in turn, help them develop positive social relationships. When you listen to your child attentively, you make it clear that a conversation involves not only speaking but also listening with equal importance.
Teaching this important lesson will help children cooperate better in social interactions. For example, they’re more likely to be a good friend, while also understanding that it’s okay to ask for help when necessary.
4. Helps in building self-esteem:
Your children are well aware that your time and your attention are valuable, so by giving them your undivided time and attention you make them feel valued.
Children who are not heard are mostly the ones who do not listen. It is because they are under the impression that they are unworthy of your time, and their thoughts and emotions are inconsequential to you. So they lose confidence and self-esteem, which can be detrimental to their young developing self.
When your children feel they are a priority to you, their self-esteem grows manifold. So make it a point to set aside a regular time where your children will get your undivided attention so you can help them build self-worth and make them feel valued in order to grow up as confident adults.
5. Help them academically:
While many of us understand that by being actively listened to children feel respected, valued, and understood, there are studies showing that listening helps children in ways that aren’t really obvious.
It is said that a caring, understanding parent can significantly increase the odds of your child completing their homework by six times, especially if children are struggling at school.
Also, listening plays a very important role in helping your child process and handle anxiety and trauma. When you sit with them and discuss anything that is traumatic to your child, you open the doors for conversations, which helps your child face those events better.
When your child has an eventful day at school and comes back home to be engaged by the parents about what happened at school, they are more likely to show greater interest in school while also increasing odds of helping them score better grades.
6. Enhances emotional awareness:
According to research, families who repeatedly spend time together without the disturbances of cell phones and technology have children who are well-adjusted and are less likely to experience depression or anxiety throughout their lives.
Something as simple as eating together repeatedly with no other disturbances helps create a regular connection among the family members. This promotes communication, allowing parents to gain insights into what’s happening in their children’s life. So when you know if your child is happy or sad, if they experience any distress or anxiety, you will be able to help them better.
7. Exchange of thoughts and ideas:
Adulthood makes our minds confined to societal norms and pressures, while children do not conform to any such ideas. They have the most creative way of looking at things and are naturally out-of-the-box thinkers because of their unique perspectives.
Sometimes, because of our grown-up attitude, we may dismiss some of our children’s ideas automatically due to their inexperience. If only you can engage them and talk to your children in the correct way, you will be overwhelmed by the intelligence of their thoughts and the magnitude of their theories.
Children’s minds are very fascinating, they get the greatest ideas ever and it is through effective communication that these ideas are able to plan a course of action in order to become fruitful.
While these are some of the many benefits of listening to your children, how many of us know how to really listen?
We understand that, though it might not seem so, listening is not really a simple task. It takes a great deal of patience to hear someone out, let alone a child. As parents, it may tempt us to correct our children when something they’re saying is wrong or to interrupt them when they say something that challenges our views or beliefs.
So how do you really develop listening skills before getting your child to communicate with you effectively?
We have some simple tips you can use while talking to your children to be an effective listener:
8. Undivided attention:
Firstly, you need to set aside a specific time when both of you can talk to each other with no external interference. That means you need to be present both mentally and physically and make sure your child knows that they have your undivided attention.
You do not have to make this a daunting ritual creating an aura of tension around it, but can do this by simply going for a walk every day or having dinner together every day or talking to them while you drive them to their school and so on.
Make eye contact and show your child that you are listening to him while using language that your child can easily understand will help them comprehend what you are saying better.
9. Be open-minded:
Secondly, you need to be open-minded and receptive to all kinds of feelings without getting agitated, sad, angry or frustrated. There may be times when children do not see your perspective or do not appreciate what you do and may have some negative topics which may trigger anger, fear, and anxiety.
Remember that children do not have the kind of maturity that we do, and place yourself in your child’s shoes and imagine what you would do in such a situation if you were your child.
10. Do not jump in:
Always let your child finish their talking before responding, never interfere and respond in a sensitive manner while you do so. Be curious and show interest in what your child is saying. Being actively involved is extremely important for your child to know that their views and what they are speaking about the matter.
11. Never judge:
We must not be judgemental when it comes to listening to anybody. This is especially important to remember when listening to a child. Childhood is a difficult phase and children often find it hard to communicate their feelings and sometimes what they say may not come across exactly as they want to because of their limited vocabulary.
So never criticize, judge, blame over something your child has said. While lecturing may be one way of putting your views across, an engaging conversation fosters working as a team and solving issues together.
At Sherwood high, we believe it is imperative for children to be hard to avoid any bottling up of emotions and feelings. We strongly believe that listening is one of the most important steps in promoting healthy growth and development, which is necessary to gain success in academics, school, co-curricular, and for the overall development of your children.