A Listening Experiment
Have you ever given much thought to how much talking you do? I try to be very aware of how much I talk — occupational hazard, I suppose — and I try to counter-balance it with a lot of listening. Sometimes people will describe themselves as “a good listener”. How do we know if we’re a good listener? And why do we think it’s such a good thing to be one?
I would agree that being a good listener is a great quality. And an essential one for parents. Try an experiment for one day, of just listening when your kids (or anyone, really) talks. When they tell you something, instead of responding with your own take on what they’ve just said, try letting them know that you really heard and got what they said. You could reflect back to them what you heard or clarify what you think they’re really saying, or empathize with them. Too often we rush in with a solution, when all our kids really want is to be heard and understood. It doesn’t have to be a big, heavy conversation; with our busy days, we sometimes stop listening attentively to even the little conversations sprinkled throughout our day.
If you’re feeling brave or have a great insight to share, post a few observations of how it went and what you learned. You might be surprised at what comes out when you stop talking yourself…