I am sure you are frustrated when your child does not seem to take heed of what you are saying. By the same token, your child would probably feel that you are not listening to him too. The old saying goes, “children are to be seen, not to be heard.” This may be true in some family’s culture but it is not going to help, if not destroy, you to becoming a successful parent.
Parents tend to think that we know everything and what’s the best for our children. The old Chinese saying “I eat salt more than you eat rice” just reflects how non-receptive and prideful a parent can be. If you want to understand what goes inside your child’s mind, elevating yourself so high is not going to be helpful. It takes courage to stoop down to your child’s level in order to establishing rapport with him before any understanding and communication could begin.
Communicating with our children can be a difficult task at times. Good listening and communications skills are essential to successful parenting. We may not have such skill to relate to children, we may never have experiences with children in our path of growing up. Now is the time when you want to grow together with your children, you are to learn new skill sets which will give you fruitful and blessed time with your children.
Your child’s feelings, views and opinions have worth, and you should make sure you take the time to sit down and listen openly and discuss them honestly. In normal situations, we tend to react instead of respond. In reacting, we pass judgment based on our own feelings and experiences. On the other hand, responding means being receptive to our child’s feelings and emotions and allowing them to express themselves openly and honestly without fear of repercussion from us. By reacting, we send our child the message that their feelings and opinions are not important. But by responding and asking questions about why the child feels that way, it opens a dialog that allows them to discuss their feelings further, and allows you a better understanding of where they’re coming from. Responding also gives you an opportunity to work out a solution or a plan of action with your child that perhaps they would not have come up with on their own. Your child will also appreciate the fact that maybe you do indeed understand how they feel.
It’s crucial in these situations to give your child your full and undivided attention. Put down your newspaper, stop doing dishes, or turn off the television so you can hear the full situation and make eye contact with your child. Keep calm, be inquisitive, and afterwards offer potential solutions to the problem.
Don’t discourage your child from feeling upset, angry, or frustrated. Our initial instinct may be to say or do something to steer our child away from it, but this can be a detrimental tactic. Again, listen to your child, ask questions to find out why they are feeling that way, and then offer potential solutions to alleviate the bad feeling.
Just as we do, our children have feelings and experience difficult situations. By actively listening and participating with our child as they talk about it, it demonstrates to them that we do care, we want to help and we have similar experiences of our own that they can draw from. Remember, respond – don’t react.
As parents, we have the responsibility to train and guide our children to the right path. It is more than mere responsibility, it is a way to show our love and willingness to learn together with them as they slowly grow. We should always have a vision of a fine young man or lady in our children. They are who you visualize them to be as we spend our time and commitment to train them up.