9 Ways Kids Teaches Us How To Listen

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9 Ways Kids Teach Us How To Listen

 

We’re often so concerned with teaching our kids to listen that we sometimes overlook how they teach us to listen. Listening to words is easy, but true listening encompasses much more.

 

If you went into a conference room and listened to the speaker’s words, you’d only catch about 10% of what’s actually going on. If you went into the same room and listened to other things, such as:

 

the speaker’s body language, tone, and paraverbal communication;

the words behind the words (~ translation!: “finish by the deadline!â€￾ “teach to the test!â€￾ “sell sell sell!â€￾);

how the audience reacts to the information (furiously jotting down notes and scribbling words, nodding heads in agreement, chuckling, yawning, cringing, texting, etc.);

the relationships, alliances, or conflicts within the room (For example, Joe sitting far from Bob and avoiding eye contact, Amy sitting next to her buddy Ann);

the hidden agendas (for example, vying for power, airing old baggage through subconscious jabs, or trying to inspire);

then you would be a little closer to the truth.

 

Much of the time, we’re able to get away with being lazy, with taking words at face value, with getting 10%. However, evolved listening goes beyond “face valueâ€￾ to comprehend complexities such as where people are coming from, what they want you to understand, why it’s important to them, and what they want you to do—even if they don’t say it outright.

 

Parenting children offers us the opportunity to fine-tune our listening skills so that instead of just “hearing wordsâ€￾ or even “seeing behaviors,â€￾ we read between the lines to get the real message and do something about it.

 

 

Credit: Philippe Put.

 

 

<strong>9 Things to Listen For With Little Kids</strong>

I need to run, jump, and play outside.

<em>Running in circles, playing chase, hanging from things, gazing out the window, wrestling.</em>

 

I want to help you.

<em>Following you around, being your shadow, trying to push your computer buttons, grabbing the vacuum from you, dumping out the mail, trying to open a package.</em>

 

I want some power and control.

<em>Resisting routines, saying no!, refusing the yellow plate or the green cup, not eating breakfast, not cooperating with teeth brushing or putting pajamas on.</em>

 

I need a break from toys.

<em>I want to go for a walk, make music, do art, go somewhere, or cuddle on the couch: Dumping out toys, fighting over toys, breaking toys, ignoring toys, playing aggressively with toys.</em>

 

I’m tired.

<em>Rubbing eyes, quietly slowing down, fussing, whining, acting out.</em>

 

I want some attention.

<em>Throwing food on the floor, walking out of the room, coloring on a wall.</em>

 

I love you.

<em> Sitting on your lap, hugging, snuggling, making you cards, being silly with you, trying to help you.</em>

 

I’m getting sick.

<em>Lying around, acting crazy or not like themselves, zoning out, not eating, not doing much.</em>

 

I need some quiet down time.

<em>Not getting in car seat, not putting shoes on, not packing backpack, not going potty, laying on the couch.</em>

 

Pausing helps us decipher messages hiding within the words and behaviors of our kids.

 

Erin Leyba, LCSW, PhD, mom to three,  is a counselor for individuals and couples in Chicago's western suburbs. (www.erinleyba.com) Read more about mindful parenting at www.parenthappy.org, All Rights Reserved.

http://www.blogher.com/how-kids-teach-us-listen?wrap=blogher-topics/family/working-moms&crumb=171498
 

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