Do you listen to your child? Listening is a major tool by which you can show your love for your child.
Do you really listen to your child? Oh yes I do, you reply. But take a moment and think about it. You know who your child's best friend is, but do you know your child's favourite colour? While most parents have a rundown of a child's day at school during dinner, how many parents take time out to discuss a child's fears, apprehensions and doubts?
Radha, who was in the 12th standard in high school, was feeling emotional as it was the last few days of school. Then one evening, just after her farewell, as she was studying a particular chapter, she burst into tears, as memories of school flooded back. Her father saw her crying and asked her what the matter was. When she said she was upset because she was leaving school, and that she would miss everyone there, her father, instead of sitting down to talk to her about it, just clicked his tongue, irritated, and told her to stop behaving in this ridiculous manner and get back to studies. Radha, now a mother of 2 children, remembers this incident to this day, and swears that she will never make light of her children's feelings.
Don't make light of your child's feelings
If your child is feeling bad after having fought with his best friend Aryan, do you just shrug it off and tell him, "It doesn't matter, you have many more friends"? Do you tell him that he will make up the next day with Aryan so to forget about it? Or do you sit down and discuss why your child is feeling hurt? What exactly did Aryan do or say to hurt him? Perhaps your child misunderstood? What does your child plan to do now? Will he apologise? Or will he wait for Aryan to apologise?
Many parents make the mistake of ignoring their child when he is upset about something, thinking that he will grow out of it. Yes, your child will no doubt get over whatever happened to upset him, but if you discourage him talking about it, then your child will start feeling as though his feelings don't matter, and are of no importance.
If your child is having difficulty expressing himself, don't interrupt and try to finish your child's sentence for them, and don't lose patience, let your mind wander or change the topic. You're not doing a good job of listening.
Here's what will happen if you don't listen to your child:
Your child will not be able to express himself and his feelings clearly, and will be unable to communicate well.
Not listening may also have the opposite effect, and your child may become extremely loud and boisterous, to capture his parents' attention.
Your child will, in all likelihood, have low-self esteem.
Importance of Listening
Listening is important because it is a major tool by which you can show your love for your child, and in turn, you will be able to teach your child the importance of listening to others.
If you listen to your child, it will help him become a better communicator, and will help him express his feelings more clearly and articulately.
If your child is tense or upset, all he may need is someone to listen to, to reduce his emotional anxiety.
You will also get a better idea of your child's personality if you really listen to your child. So many parents don't know what their children are really like. And then they notice streaks of rebellion in their child, and wonder why. Did they say something to hurt their child? They don't know, and will not either because though their child told them, they never listened.
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- The Indiaparenting Team