Active listening: what does the gesture of putting yourself at the height of children mean?
Today, life goes so fast that many times we do not stop to dedicate our children all the attention they need at any time, and conversations with children are summarized to advice, orders, interrogations and reprimands. When our son begins to tell us something that has happened to him in school, a worry, some fear, etc ... it is convenient to stop, squat down to his height and pay close attention to what he tells us. It is what is called active listening.
In order to transmit to our children that what happens to them is important for us, that we understand them and that we are willing to help them, it is necessary that in communication there is a fundamental ingredient: active listening
In practice, active listening translates into kneeling to look them in the eye, a gesture that makes our interlocutor feel heard and understood, a communication technique especially positive when we talk to children and that affects the self-esteem and confidence of our children.
What is active listening?
We all need to feel heard, accepted, respected in our way of being, otherwise we feel bad. Active listening can be defined as listening with attention, understanding and care. Communication is not an exclusively rational process and, through active listening, we take into account emotions and feelings, understanding how others see things and what importance they give them. To actively listen is to empathize with the other person, to put ourselves in their shoes, to listen to their feelings.
For put into practice active listening we must take into account three behaviors:
1. Pay attention
2. Appreciate the other person's point of view
3. Let him see that we understand what he is telling us.
Ideas practice active listening with our children
Most of the problems we encounter in communication with our children, friends, family, etc. is because nobody has taught or educated us to listen actively, to put it into practice we can follow these tips;
1. Start communicating with your children since they are small. You do not need large gatherings, just be available to answer your questions, explain things, etc. Children who feel loved and accepted by their parents are better able to share their feelings, thoughts and concerns with them.
2. Keep in touch with your eyes. Parents who do this show their children that they are interested in them and what they tell them. If there is no contact with the look, the children may think that their parents are not interested in what they say, for that we can bend down to be face to face.
3. Eliminate all distractions that hinder communication. When children want to talk, we should try to give them our full attention, put aside what we are doing, look at our children and pay attention to them. If this is not possible, we have to tell them that as soon as we finish this we are looking for them to talk. Otherwise, children may think that you are not interested in them, or that what they have to say is not important.
4. Listen with your mouth closed. Parents should try to interrupt our children as little as possible when they are counting something, interruptions often cause the speaker to lose focus. When instead of talking he / she we start talking to us (of what he / she has to do, of what happened to us when we were in a similar situation * ...) we cut off his desire to talk.
5. Let your children know that they have been heard. Once the children have finished speaking, we can show them that we have paid attention by repeating what we have just heard, with different words, for example, "It seems that you had a very good day at school, although I think this (... ) has made you feel sad. " This not only tells you that you have been listening, it is also an opportunity to clarify things that you may not have understood or misinterpreted.
Rocío Navarro Psychologist Director of Psicolari, integral psychology