Children will listen to you AFTER they feel listened to.
1) Notice how often you interrupt, explain, defend your position, lecture, or give a command when your child tries to talk to you.
2) Stop and just listen. It is okay to ask questions such as, “Can you give me an example? Is there anything else?”
4) When your child is finished, ask if she is willing to hear you.
5) After sharing, focus on a solution that works for both.
I REALLY need this tool card! I'll bet my son said "Dad, you're not listening" 10 times during the past week. And you know what...he's right.
I tend to make the mistake of telling my children what happened, why it happened, and what they should do about. Half the time I don't even listen long enough to get the whole story. This is very frustrating for my son because he doesn't always want me to solve the problem for him. He just wants to share with me and he is hoping I will have a little empathy for his situation.
We had a situation this past week when our dog got a little aggressive with one of Gibson's friends. I wasn't home and the dog was startled when his friend walked in and nipped at him and also got Gibson a little bit when he intervened. When I found out about this, I immediately started accusing Gibson and scolding him before I even heard the whole story. Gibson responed "Dad, you never listen! And you don't believe me anyway!"
Later I found out that Gibson had gone on the internet and learned all he could about how to train your dog not to bite. He had a plan and wanted to share it with me, but I never gave him the chance.
For this coming week I am going to make an effort to focus on listening to my children. I won't interrupt or try to fix the situation until they ask me for help. I will simply listen, ask questions and show empathy. After they are finished, I will use Step 4 to see if they are willing to listen to my ideas. And then we can focus on a solution together.