Even when you are only
listening in a conversation you are
active in the communication process. You
listen with your eyes as well as your ears and with thoughts that
you formulate and relate throughout the discussion. When you actively
listen you encourage your child to express themselves more.
Here are some tips on how to be a good active listener:
1) Keep your own talk to a minimum.
Your role is to give your teen your full attention and
listen, not talk. Simple phrases and acknowledgements are all
that is necessary to show that you are understanding and taking
in what your teen has to say.
2) Listen for feelings. Feelings
in themselves are neither wrong nor right. They simply are, and
whether we like it or not, they influence us. Teens need to acknowledge
their feelings as the first step in dealing with a problem. You
can help your child learn to acknowledge their own feelings by
listening for the feelings implied in what they say. A parent
can then help give those feelings a name.
3) Connect feelings to content.
Once you have actively listened to the content of what your child
has to say, and once you have an idea of what the child is feeling,
the next step is to reflect those feelings back to the
child--become their emotional mirror. This helps your child connect
their feelings with the content of the problem.
Opening Up & Talking