Effective listening requires the least amount of distractions of the physical surroundings of your space but also the space in your mind. To listen to what is being said requires an open heart that has the capacity to hear the hurt, frustration, anger, anxiety… of another person.
What is the hardest part of listening to your teens? Keeping your mouth closed. For example when a teenager reveals something about a friend that makes us feel uncomfortable. That uncomfortable feeling leads us to give advice and opinions because it will make us feel less uncomfortable. Often this is when the conversation ends or may become heated. What is the message we send to our teens when we give advice? I know more than you. My way is the better way. When we stop listening, we lose the opportunity to discover what our teen is thinking. We lose the opportunity to provide the space for them to process their situation out loud. We lose the opportunity to tell our teen, I believe in you and know that you have the tools to work this out. Make a pact with your teen, “If you want my advice you’ll have to ask for it otherwise I am just here to listen”.
Books & Stories
Create some special time with your children and cuddle up with a book or tell a story. Sitting or cuddling side by side will often encourage our children to open up.
- “I Have a Little Problem” Said the Bear, Heinz Janisch
- Horton Hears a Who, Dr. Suess
- Silence, Lemniscates
- Listen, Listen, Phillis Gershator
- The Talking Stick http://www.uua.org/re/tapestry/children/lovesurrounds/session10/170198.shtml
Listening helps us to connect to people and the world around us. In the car, in the house, in the forest we can engage children in listening through fun and games.
- With your child/ren walk into a field or forest and sit down in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. Listening to the sounds connects us to nature and is a wonderful way to honour our 7th principle.
- While travelling play “My Grandmother went to the market and she bought…” each person needs listen to repeat all of the items that were said and add their own item to the list.
- Play Simon Says
- Make a telephone http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Play-Telephone