Parenting – Six Tips For Effective Listening

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Mark Twain once said, "If we are expected to talk more than we listen, we would have two mouths and one ear." Humans were not created that way though. Most humans have two eyes, two ears, and one mouth. That means we should be watching and listening twice as much as we talk. Silence at the opportune time allows for critical events to be heard and listened to.

Below are six tips to counter the six listening barriers. I have defined the word tip as any hint intended to promote success in any given process. Pay close attention, stay open-minded, and be sure to not only agree with what you read but apply what you have read in your everyday life. One day you will need to teach your son these same things.

Six Tips for Effective Listening

1. Paraphrase: The first tip to effective listening is making use of paraffin. Paraphrasing means to recap what was said to you, in your own words. This is an effective way to enhance comprehension. When you are paraphrasing a statement, you are not asking a calculated question, but you are in some way questioning what you heard and expecting the speaker to correct any discrepancies. With a conversational approach such as this, there is no way to mix up what the other person has said to you. Paraphrase what your children say to you to be sure you heard them correctly, understood correctly and are on the same page. Be sure to avoid interrupting the speaker when paraphrasing. Lastly, do not be afraid to take longer than normal pauses to gather your thoughts. What I mean is when it's your turn to paraphrase, feel free to take as long as you need to gather your thoughts into a meaningful response. A mistake many people make is trying to speak without thinking thoroughly. When you're trying to paraphrase someone's thoughts, you need to be sure you know exactly what you are going to say. Do not get uncomfortable; Just take your time, as much time as you need, and then answer with an educated response.

2nd Remain open-minded: As an adult you will have to learn to remain open-minded to what is being said to you, especially to what your children say to you. Do not get fired up because your child said something that may have rubbed you wrong, but instead, keep listening. Why? Because your child will soon learn what he can or can not say to you. The problem arises if you are constantly attacking your son for saying something outside of what's conventional, because a time will come when your son will need to tell you things that are out of the norm. Whenever you are going to need to know the truth in the future, he will assume that he can not tell you because you will just get mad at him. As a result, he will hold the whole thing in, and leave you on the outside. The end of this situation is that one day you will have a grown up child who you do not really know because you neverave him a chance to speak his mind freely. Remain open-minded about what your child says to you, and as they grow to trust you more, they will confide in you more during those tough situations life will throw at them. They will need someone to confide in, and that person will be the one who is willing to listen.

3rd Hold your insights: Hold your insights until the child is finished speaking and then at the right time add your point of view. Here's a trick though: Instead of just pointing to your point of view, use a nudging technique. The trick is to use perfectly timed and reasonably planned questions to guide your children into your advice instead of trying to beat it into them. Instead of force feeding advice that you know is crucial for the development of your child, guide him slowly into it. The child will feel resentful, insufficient or insufficient if you are always giving them the right answers. If you can learn to use the leading questions to make the child think through his situation until he reaches that "AH-HA" moment, it will make that advice stick better than if you just tell him. He will feel like he thought of the solution all on his own, and as a result, build confidence in himself.

4th Body Language: Listening is not just an audible experience. You can listen to the body language of an individual to truly grasp the understanding of what is going on. Someone's voice may give off an air of confidence, but the body language may show signs of sweating and twitching, which are signs of fear and lack of self-confidence. Have you ever heard the expression "Actions speak louder than words?" Is it true or not? It is crucial that you as a parent learn to listen to and read your child's body language. Trouble signs may not always be verbal, but there is always a clue as to what is going on in a child's head. Fidgeting, nervousness, paranoia and edginess are big signs that there is something seriously wrong. This is where you will need to use leading questions to pull out what is wrong. Do not be fooled by confident words when the body language is saying otherwise.

5th Place yourself in the other person's shoes: While you are actively listening to what's being said, take the time out to reverse the roles. Now people fail to make this simple change of thought when involved in a conversation. Imagine if what happened to the other person had happened to you, and then ask yourself how you would feel if that same thing had happened to you. In most cases, you can not get mad at someone for what they have done if you put yourself in their shoes. This does not go for things like theft, drugs, or murder, of course, but for things like a schoolyard fight, argument, and crying over something. You will be more open-minded if you can think about the conversation from the other person's point of view. You do this by taking the time to intentionally think about what the other person may be feeling. Ask yourself, "Why are they saying and doing what they are doing?" Feel the air for cues as to how the other person feels. Put yourself in their shoes by saying, "What would I have done?" When you do this, you better prepare yourself for giving advice or offering leading questions. It's only when you understand a person's circumstances that you can offer them accurate advice, so take the time out to see things from the perspective of the other person.

6th Less talking is more: As a listener, you are supposed to be listening. True listening does not include talk at all. If you are supposed to be listening, but you have taken control of the conversation, you have gotten off the path of what listening is. Your job as a listener is to be a companion and a confidant, not a sparring partner. The less you speak when you are talking to, the more people will come to you to speak; this is ideal if you want your kids to talk to you. When they are talking, just shut up. Not to be rude in anyway, but just learn to hold back everything you want to say and just listen. They will love you for it. Remember, your body language is important as well. Just because you're not talking, it does not mean you can look off in the sky or do the dishes while your son is trying to speak to you. You will need to stop what you are doing and listen.

If you follow these tips and learn from these barriers, you will never hear, "You never listen to me!" ever again from your son.

I imagine that this might sound like a lot of work, and it is certainly more work than the average person puts into a conversation, but the average parent produces a mean kid.

Remember: The number one complaint of most children is that no one listens to them or understands them.

2. Trying to be a mind reader while the other person is talking
2. Planning your rebuttal while the other person is talking
3. Attempting to turn every conversation into a debate
5. Believing that you are always right
5. Asking too many questions at the wrong times
6. Failure to understand what the speaker said

Tips for Effective Listening
1. Paraphrase
2. Keep your insights and hold your tongue until the person is done talking
4. Study the body language of the individual while they are speaking
5. Place yourself in the other person's shoes
6. Less talking is usually more

Part 6 of this article, "Six Barriers of Effective Listening" is available as well.

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