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Please listen to me!

March 28, 2011

What the Experts Say…

“Children experience frustration and resentment when parents seem uninterested in how they feel and their point of view. Parents can initiate favorable changes in their children by listening with sensitivity.” (Haim Ginott, Child Psychologist, in his book, Between Parent and Child, p. 83)

In Other Words…

Children, like adults, are unlikely to cooperate if they feel like they are not valued. One of the most powerful ways of showing that we value a person is by listening attentively. This is hard! With the many demands made on parents, it is easy to listen half-heartedly or not at all. When we give children our undivided attention, we understand them better and they are more likely to feel cherished.

How This Applies to You…

Next time your child wants to share something with you, set aside everything else—even distracting thoughts. Listen carefully to what he or she says. Take time to ask how the child feels about the situation. Look into the child’s eyes. Actively seek to understand how the situation feels for the child. Offer words of compassion and understanding. If the child is describing something fun, you might say, “It sounds like you loved that.” If the child is describing a difficulty, you might say, “That must have been hard!”

To Find Out More…

For an excellent (and free) program on parenting, see The Parenting Journey at www.arfamilies.org and if your children are younger than six, check out See the World Through My Eyes.

For more in-depth reading, we recommend Between Parent and Child by Dr. Haim Ginott or Soft-Spoken Parenting by H. Wallace Goddard.

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