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Active Listening

     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.

Related Links
Effective Guidelines
Opening Up & Talking
Encouraging Homework
Teenager's Friends
Communication Barriers