Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Talk So Your Children Listen

This week – Wednesday, October 7th to be exact – we are doing a teleseminar on How to Talk so Children Listen. It could truthfully be called Be Heard by Everyone because we address powerful communication skills that are helpful in any relationship. If you are feeling the frustration of constantly repeating yourself, seeing your child’s rolling eyes and arms crossed tightly over his chest, hearing the myriad of excuses, receiving defensiveness and a lack of cooperation, this is the workshop for you.

How DO we talk so that children listen to us?

One way is to actively listen with full attention to your child. Not only will that model the kind of listening you desire from him, it will also let your child know he is heard. Active listening involves making eye contact, maintaining a body posture that shows interest (such as your body forward with arms at your side rather than crossed) and an interested expression. You do not have to actually say anything. Get down on your child’s level or bring him up to yours and listen with full focus.

Another communication skill is to look for the feelings behind your child’s behavior and behind his words and then acknowledge them. For instance, if your child says, “Mary said she is not my friend,” an empathetic response might be, “That must have hurt.” A non-empathetic rescuing response might be, “That Mary is such a mean girl. I’ll have a talk with her mother.” The rescuing response stops the communication. The empathetic response that gives a name to your child’s feelings is an invitation to a conversation. Those are conversations in which we really get to know our child and they get to know us. They are rich.

Another helpful communication tip is to simply describe the problem rather than tell your child what to do. This allows him to take responsibility without engaging in a power struggle. By simply stating the problem, there is nothing for him to push against.

I invite you to join us Wednesday, October 7th at 9:00 PM for more on How to Talk so Your Child Listen. Click Here to register.