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Developing Listening as a Life-Skill

Having your child not listen to you is probably one of THE most frustrating things you experience as a parent!

Here are a few helpful hints which may improve the matter.

  • If your cgild often does not listen or speaks very loudly, have a doctor or audiologist check her hearing.
  • Who is the boss in the relationship? Does your child see and respect you as the parent? If the child sees himself as calling the shots, getting him to listen to you and do what you want will be much harder - so take back the role that is rightfully yours.
  • Talking and listening should sometimes just be about relating MUTUALLY: sharing thoughts, ideas and experiences and talking about feelings.
  • When you are telling your child something, speak clearly in brief, simple sentences. Don’t bombard him with too much information. Make eye contact and getting down to her level often helps too. This demonstrates your seriousness and also builds inter-personal relationships.
  • If you have a request, state what you want and what will happen if the request is not carried out - and then follow through. And don’t beg and beg and beg. But neither is your child unpaid labour, tasks and requests should be age-appropriate, be fair and reasonable.
  • Children usually don’t listen when they don’t want to do what you want them to do, when they want to control the situation and YOU, or if they are genuinely absorbed.
  • Model and impose good listening skills as a family: speak politely and kindly; give each other the opportunity to talk; don’t interrupt when a member of the family is speaking (even if it is the littlest person); don’t allow one family member to dominate; ask questions to find out more, share regularly as a family, so everyone knows what has happened to whom; talk about shared experiences.
  • Remember, sometimes children genuinely do not hear you because they are involved in an internal dialogue or because they are concentrating on something else. Relate this to how you feel when you are interrupted. This is different to selective hearing and should be respected, being able to be reflective and thoughtful is another life-skill that should be nurtured.

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