Thursday, February 16, 2012

Listening to Your Children Versus Analyzing the Situation Leaving Them Feeling Unheard

One mom reported that her son came home from school complaining about how boring his music class was. It was the first week of his new guitar class at school and her son had already taken lessons so he knew the basics.

She responded to his complaint by explaining that it might be the very first time some of the kids even touched a guitar so the teacher needed to provide some information. Her son told her that she just didn’t understand!

What went wrong? How come her son did not feel heard? Instead of reflecting back his feelings, Mom provided an analysis of the situation. This is a sure-fire way to make someone feel misunderstood!

He might have felt heard had she instead said “Wow! It sounds like you were really bored.” When we reflect back our children’s feelings, they are likely to feel heard. When we break into a lecture or analysis of the situation, they will feel that we didn’t understand what they were trying to say.

It’s so easy to accidentally shutdown conversations instead of encouraging your child to elaborate. The easiest way to make your children feel heard is to make a guess at what they are feeling and why. If you’re wrong, they’ll correct you. If you’re right, they’ll feel heard and probably continue explaining what happened.

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