For many parents, raising a child to listen can be one of the most challenging — and important — life lessons.
The ability to listen is not only critical to a child’s early development—enabling them to learn and protect themselves from harm—but it’s also critical to relationship building and professional success later in life.
Yet, it can often feel like a child cannot – or will not – listen, leading to arguments and tantrums when parent and child are miles apart in their positions.
But that doesn’t have to be the case, says parenting expert and authorized Language of Listening coach Camilla Miller. Describing the US-founded three-tier framework as the “missing step in parenting,” Miller said it can help reformulate any conflict and allow a child to achieve their goals within the confines of a parent.
“You get what you want and you get what you want. It’s a win-win,” Miller, founder of UK website and coaching company Keep your cool parenting, told CNBC Make It.
Here, according to Miller, are the three steps to getting your child to listen.
1. Say what you see
The first step in the “language of listening” is simple: say what you see. Instead of imposing your judgment on your child’s behavior, resist the urge to react and literally speak out what you see.
For example, you may think your child isn’t sharing and you wish he was, but in his eyes he’s busy playing. Say as much: “You are busy playing with this toy.” Likewise, you may think they are giving you an attitude when they are feeling frustrated in their head. Acknowledge: “You are frustrated with this situation.”
“Your child needs to feel heard before they can listen to you,” Miller said. “If your child doesn’t feel heard, they feel like you’re ignoring their wants and needs, they think you’re telling them they’re wrong.”
That doesn’t mean you have to give in to their demands. But it gives you the opportunity to follow in their footsteps and find out the root cause of their behavior.
“So often, as parents, we walk in with a demand or a desire and we haven’t first acknowledged what our kids want,” Miller said. “If you don’t care what they want, they won’t care what you want.”
2. Offer an opportunity
Once you understand and empathize with your child’s behavior, you will be better able to help them move forward and find a solution.
If they exhibit behavior you don’t like, help them redirect that energy to something you like.
For example, they may jump onto the sofa and you would prefer if they didn’t. Acknowledge his desire to jump around and let off steam, but help him direct that energy to another space like the floor or a trampoline. Or maybe they’re asking for a new toy and their birthday just passed. Help them think of ways they can buy it themselves, e.g. B. by earning extra pocket money.
“It’s about looking at the need behind the behavior and helping them meet that need in a way that’s acceptable to them,” Miller said.
However, if they exhibit behavior you enjoy, acknowledge it and activate it to reinforce such behaviors in the future.
3. Finish with a strength
Once you’ve de-escalated the situation and found a compromise, end the conversation by emphasizing a strength your child has shown.
However, avoid structuring the feedback in a way that focuses on you, e.g. B. “I’m so glad you did that.” Instead, make them the focus by saying, for example, “You’re such a problem solver, you found a way to fix this.”
In this way, they recognize themselves as active participants in the situation and as someone with strong decision-making skills that are more likely to be repeated over time.
“By embracing the child’s inner voice, it helps them reinforce these behaviors and build their self-esteem,” Miller said.
Change your own reaction
While the Language of Listening framework is primarily structured for children, Miller says it can be applied to other ages and situations, including teens, co-workers, and romantic relationships.
In the case of teenagers, for example, saying what you see can help them better understand themselves when they are behaving in unusual ways, while also opening the channels of communication with you as a parent.
“Generally, the reason people act or shout is because of their need for power,” Miller said, noting that this need must be respected.
In the meantime, truly listening to and understanding other people’s perspectives can also help you be a more considerate and compassionate person as a person.
“It’s actually also about understanding your own behavior,” Miller continued. “The quickest way to change how we react is to change how we see things.”
https://www.cnbc.com/2022/06/27/3-ways-to-talk-to-kids-so-they-will-actually-listen.html The parenting coach has 3 tips