How to Show Your Kids You’re Truly Listening
We expect our kids to listen but they expect the same thing from us. And even though we might feel like we’re listening to them, to our kids it can feel like we’re not. The issue here is not that we’re not good listeners, it’s probably more that we’re not good at showing them that we’re listening.
Show your kids you’re listening during the important moments
We all know the feeling of our listening skills being depleted when we get home after a long day at work. It’s impossible to be ON all the time, so knowing when your kid is trying to tell you something really important is an important step here.
Teaching your kid the skill to give you a cue when they really need you to listen, is an incredible skill for them to acquire. When they learn how to do that, they learn how to self-advocate.
3-step framework: how to listen to your children
Once you know you’re in a situation where your kid really needs you to listen, there are 3 steps you can take to listen to your kid AND make sure that they know you are. Slowing down and listening is harder than you think it should be, but with this strategy, many problems can be solved within a few minutes and you’ll prevent it from getting worse:
- Appreciate: Let your kid know you appreciate them telling you how they’re feeling/what’s bothering them/etc.
- Validate: Validate your kid’s feelings.
- Explore: Before falling into the trap of trying to problem solve too soon, be curious and ask questions to explore what’s happening.
What does this look like in real life?
Now you know the steps, but how does this work exactly? What does this look like in a real-life situation? And, what should you do when you apply those skills but the other parent won’t get on board?
In our podcast episode, we tell you more about it, and we even play out some scenes to give you a sense of how this framework will work in a day-to-day situation.
In this episode we cover:
- Why your kid may feel like you’re not listening;
- How to recognise when it’s time to truly listen;
- Cues your child might give you to let you know they need to share something important;
- A 3-step framework to show your kid you’re truly listening;
- What to do when one of the parents is not a good listener;
- AND we play out some scenes, so you get an idea of how the framework fits into real life situations.
More about Virginia Family Therapy
Virginia Family Therapy is a mental health practice serving individuals, families, and our community. VFT is designed to help people at all stages and from all walks of life by offering therapists and physicians with diverse backgrounds and specialties via face-to-face, walk-and-talk, and telemedicine appointments. Throughout, we are committed to developing strengths-based, authentic, and long-lasting relationships with you and your children. We hope to provide you with the support and insight you need to help your family navigate life’s hard times and joys.
Contact us here.
Resources and links mentioned in this episode
- Are you or your child struggling with mental health? We have a team of psychologists and psychiatrists who can help you out. Don’t hesitate to contact us here.
- Have you listened to our episode about how to deal with anxiety?
- Connect with us on Facebook or Instagram.
Disclaimer: Please remember we are real live therapists, however this is a podcast and is not considered a therapy session. Not only because there is no co-pay but also because we can’t speak to your individual experiences. We are here to help you keep raising healthy kids. And remember, if you are an imperfect parent, we are right there with you. If you or someone you love is in immediate danger, please call your local crisis hotline or go to your nearest emergency room.