The key word in active listening is acceptance- acceptance of your child’s feelings, ideas or opinions, in spite of how different they might be from how you want your child to respond to life. Active listening provides the basis for a relationship of trust and warmth.
Active listening does five specific things for the child.
- It helps the child learn how to handle negative feelings. Your acceptance of the child’s feelings will help him learn that negative emotions are a part of life and that he is not “bad” for having such feelings. It will also help him learn not to suppress his emotions but to seek an acceptable outlet to expel his feelings.
- It provides a basis for a close relationship between parent and child. I think everyone enjoys the feeling of being listened to and being understood by another person. This experience creates a bond of closeness that will draw respect, trust and togetherness between parent and child.
- It helps a child move towards independent problem solving. When a person is allowed or given the privilege talking aloud about his problem that he is facing, he can have clearer view about it. That is why it is good to seek an advice from a guidance counselor whenever there is a problem bothering you. Being able to verbalize in an atmosphere of complete acceptance and being able to use another person as a “sounding board” helps the person think more clearly and move towards a more acceptable solutions.
- It teaches a child to listen to a parent and to others. The earlier and more frequent you demonstrate to your child that you will listen to his ideas and problems, the more willing he will be to listen in return. If your feel that your child never listens to what you say, it might be that you are modeling this behavior to him. That is why you should be very careful in all your actions especially in front of a child because they will imitate every words and actions you did.
- It encourages a child to think for himself. Active listening encourages a youngster to think and to talk about problems, rather than run away from them. As parents we cannot follow all the days of our child, giving and offering them advice but it is our duty to equip them with the ability to deal and solve the problems of life.