By: Ida Welbourn
Listening actively and curiously to your child/teenager is an important part of building a strong and healthy relationship. Making themselves available with their presence, time and interest can go a long way. There are various signals that may mean that you need to listen a little more to your child/teenager. Here are some examples:
Silence or avoidance: If your child/teen becomes quiet or avoids eye contact, it may be a signal that they need to talk to you. It may indicate that they are uncertain about how to express their feelings or that they feel depressed or worried.
Self Acquisition or Isolation: If your child/teen seems self -absorbed or isolated, for example sitting a lot at the computer or in their room, it may be a signal that it needs your attention or that they are struggling with something it needs to talk about.
Attention -seeking: If your child/teen is trying to pay attention to you by repeating, talking louder or reminding you of things, then it may be a signal that you need to listen to it or that it needs to talk to you about something they can't understand or come to rest with. To show that you have listened also means remembering and returning, for example, with follow -up questions such as "How did it go with the friend that you were so disappointed with?".
Emotional stress or change in mood: If your child/teen shows signs of emotional stress such as crying, angry or frustrated, seeming restless and worried, then it may be a signal that they need your attention and your support.
When behavior or routines change: If your child/teen suddenly changes his habits, for example with sleep or food, or loses interest in something, it may be a signal that something is wrong and that it needs to talk to you.
These behaviors are examples of signals that your child/teen needs your support and then it is important that you show that you want to listen to what they have to say. Every child/teen is unique and there may be other signals that are specific to your child/teenager and their personality. Being present and attentive can help you discover signals that may mean they need to talk to you.
Active listening means: Try to understand their perspective without interrupting them, confirm what is said and do not come up with solutions or judgmental comments. Listen with curiosity and acceptance. Ask if the child/teenager needs your help before you offer to help. Often, the need for someone who listens and confirms is greater than the need for help, this is especially true of teenagers.
Our emotional cards will help you in conversations with children. Come in and read more HERE