Effective listening involves more than just saying, "I'm listening." To show that we are actively listening to our children and that we love them, we listen for understanding.
If you hear and you understand, don't just say so. Prove it. Demonstrate that you hear what your child is telling you by:
- Repeating back what he is saying
- Helping him identify feelings, and
- Asking him questions about what he is saying.
Such responses are much more effective at conveying a message of love than simply telling him, "I hear you. I understand."
When a child feels heard and understood, she feels validated. She knows she has a voice that matters, that her thoughts and feelings are taken seriously, and that she is important. This, of course, is the foundation of self-esteem.
Kelly Bartlett is a certified positive discipline educator.