THE SECRET TO GET YOUR CHILD LISTEN TO YOU
As a parent, you may wonder how to make your child listen to you. When we get frustrated our first reaction is often to yell at our child. However, yelling does not work. Worse than that, studies show that yelling is actually detrimental to your child. Long term effects of yelling include lack of self-confidence, demonstration of aggressive behavior in social settings with peers such as pushing, hitting, or biting.
So, what is the secret? The secret is to really listen to your child. Simple, too simple? Not so much in our 21st century when everyone is all the time busy. So, what do I mean by listen truly to your child. First, let me tell you why it is essential to really learn how to listen. When you listen to your child you are showing them that you are interested and care about what they have to say. To a child, this equals to feeling loved. Your child will then think “OK. If daddy/mommy listens to me, this means he/she is interested in what I am saying, he/she is interested in me, he/she loves me.” Inevitably, this will boost your child’s self-esteem and self-worth.
Here are some important steps to become a good listener:
1. Eliminate distraction. Your child should get your undivided attention when he is talking to you. So, put away your cell phone, tablet, or computer. Your child will get the message that you are truly ready to listen to her.
2. Listen with a closed mouth. I know this can be challenging for some of us, but it is a requirement. If your child has some difficulty to speak, a smile or a touch can encourage her.
3. Let your child know you have heard her. After your child is finished speaking, restate in your own words what you heard. For instance, you may say “Oh boy, you must have a really bad day at school today!” This shows your child you paid attention to what she said. Also, this helps clarify any misunderstanding you may have about your child’s message.
4. Express your own feelings and ideas. If you share your own feelings and thoughts with your child, it will have a few benefits. First, it will teach your child your values and morals, but be careful to do it in a non-judgmental way. Second, it will show your child how to open up to you as you open up to them.
Remember that when you role model a behavior, your child will integrate this message as something she can do herself. So, if you show your child how to listen to her, then when it comes for her to listen to you, she will automatically do it as this is this model she has witnessed from you.
As a parent and a therapist, I want to offer some tips on how to raise happy and healthy kids. Please feel free to comment on my posts.