On the surface, lack of attention is a minor problem. A child has more time for hobbies and friends, parents don’t bother or lecture him BUT, as a result, a child experiences the lack of LOVE and CARE. There is an exact term in medicine that describes the disease caused by lack of attention – Attention Deficit Disorder. The main ADD characteristic is the inability to concentrate and focus but it leads to major problems – impulsiveness, memory issues, disorganization.
In general, from 5% to 11% of the American children between 4 and 17 years have been ever diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. The problem is clear but how to solve it?
I would recommend all parents start with active listening. This awesome communication technique will act as a foundation for the trusting relationship and it will mean even more than personalized gifts for kids. Let’s figure out together what active listening means and how to use it in a real life.
What is Active Listening? How to Use it?
Active listening is an effective communication technique when we not only hear a person but also listen (!) to it. Even if the child doesn’t admit that he wants to talk about something (positive or negative), believe me, he wants. Your goal lies in showing that you understand your baby and you feel the same. If your child is too small, you can try to describe the feelings and emotions. This way, he will realize that you do understand the problem.
It’s not only a technique that we use in particular situations. Speaking of the relationship with your child, it should be your lifestyle.
So, How to Listen to Your Child?
- Establish Eye Contact
When you talk with your child, you should sit next to him and establish an eye contact. If you need a result, you shouldn’t turn your back or fix your eyes on the smartphone.
2. Make Pauses
Try to make pauses between the child’s story and your comments. Often children complement the story with comments. Sometimes very important. Let the child lay himself bare.
3. Take an Assertive Form
When the child is upset, offended or hurt, faced unfairness or rudeness, you should show that you understand his feelings. Let’s imagine the situation: Your daughter ran headfirst to ride a swing set but a rude boy jumped on it and doesn’t want to give way.
Tears flow down the cheeks and she in despair runs to you. The best thing you should do is to hug her and say “Yes, you are upset. You are reset. You are hurt”.
Then a child will see that you feel him, that you understand what made him upset. And I beg you, if the child is upset, it’s truly IMPORTANT for him! No way to tell him that it’s a trifle and that he will grow up, and only then he will have problems, and so on. Unfortunately, modern parents often only dream about teaching kids playing by themselves.
My friend told me that when she “madly” fell in love in the seventh grade and, of course, hopelessly, she told her Mama about it. Mom waved her off with the words: “Oh, come on! Don’t you know how many times you will “fall in love” in your life?!
How many flowers and gifts you will get!!” “Of course, my mother was right, but as a daughter, I needed other words!” Yes, she needed to be listened to, so she could tell about her pain. Maybe the love passed quickly but the relationship with her mother developed differently.
There is no need to say that since that time, the mother hasn’t heard about any daughter’s feeling, pain, dream, affair, happiness, and so on. She ought to sit next to her and say “I know that your heart is broken (defined the feeling) but I’m here, next to you”.
4. The Main Person Stands in front of You
If someone comes to you with a problem, a request, a story, try to be in the moment, be in the spotlight. Listen carefully, do not interrupt, leave room for pauses; specify if something is not clear; briefly repeat what you just heard; “return” the feelings and emotions in the words (you are offended, you are in love, you did not expect this, you feel lonely). Do not ask the child: “why are you upset?” – say: “you are upset”, instead of “are you offended?”, say: “You are offended”, etc.
Learn! Learn to hear and listen to your children, your family, and friends. Over time, you will see what results this skill will bring! For this reason, I also shared my games for preschoolers, as they teach children to talk and listen. Yes, along with the fact that you will be your child’s best friend and will be able to solve many problems and conflicts at the very beginning, you will find out that your children know how to hear and listen to you! And you know how priceless it is!
It’s never too late to start learning and developing. Start practicing an active listening and you will see how your relations with your family and friends will change!