We all imagine ourselves to be good listeners. After all, we do it every day: We listen, we respond; conversations appear to run smoothly. But listening to your children is a special challenge, and especially important.
Why does it matter so much? Poor listening skills can have significant long-term effects on your relationships with your kids. Over time, you may see consequences like these:
Your kids may view speaking to you as a hit-or-miss proposition. Think of it like this: If you put money in a candy machine five different times, but one out of five times you lose your money and get no candy, you'll think twice about using that machine again. Communication breaks down and everybody suffers.
A child might talk more to one parent (the better listener) than to the other. This kind of "unbalanced" relationship can drive a wedge between husband and wife as much as between parent and child.
Misunderstandings from bad listening habits can cause unnecessary arguments or disappointments. Consider this possible response: "But Mom, I told you I needed ten dollars for school. Don't you remember?" or "I told you how important this was to me. You don't even care!"
A parent who is not listening well might miss the hidden agenda or subtext that is sometimes behind a child's comments. For example, a child who asks, "Is Grandma feeling better?" may have more underlying concerns that are not obvious in the words. It should be the gateway to a longer and more serious conversation; instead it could be missed entirely.report abuse