Families these days are always extremely busy. No matter whether there is one child or five, no matter whether there is one parent or two, the stresses, strains, and expectations that come with modern life are always there, making it hard to listen to one another at times. However, taking the time and making the effort to truly listen to your children is essential. You can miss far too much if you don’t, and that will leave you with regrets and potential problems.
Therefore, no matter how busy you and your children are, it is time to slow down and understand just why listening to your child and not just hearing them is so crucial to their ultimate overall development.
A Stronger Bond & Open Communication
Feelings are far more critical than you might realize, and the way that you make a child feel will stay with them long after the words you spoke have faded and the action you took is a distant memory. Those feelings will remain for years, perhaps for all of their lives, and as such, they should be great ones. If your child knows that you are listening to them and helping them when they need you, those feelings will be positive, and your bond will be stronger overall.
Being listened to in this way and having their thoughts and feelings engaged with, having real conversations, and being able to express what they want and need, will give your child a safe space where they will always be able to turn to when they need to. It will also allow them to develop their authentic voice, and this will turn them into a productive and successful adult.
Furthermore, a child who instinctively knows that their words and feelings have a real value will be far more likely to share these feelings and opinions in their childhood, through their teenage years, and well beyond into adulthood. They will also encourage their own children, should they have any, to be just as open. The more people who live in this way, the better, as this open communication is how the world changes and becomes a more pleasant place to live.
In order to encourage this kind of open communication, it is best to start early and make it part of your daily routine. There should be no TV, games consoles, smartphones or any other distractions, and you should simply sit, perhaps around the dinner table, and ask your child questions about their day. It is great if they can also ask you questions about yours too.
Understands Their Needs
Even as a parent, you may have an idea of who your child is and what they are really like that could be slightly wrong. It is easy to imagine your child thinks and feels the same as you do, but everyone is different, and these different personalities start to emerge at an early age. If you are able to listen to your children, you will quickly get a much better sense of who they actually are. Why is this important? It’s important because if you know who they are and how they function, you can do more to help them achieve their true potential. It might be that you realize they need a different kind of school that will cater more to their needs and personality, in which case you can look for the best charter school for them to attend. Perhaps you will realize that they need to be involved in sport or the theater, for example, in which case you can help them do that. Listening to your children will help you to understand who they really are.
Furthermore, when you listen to your children not only are you making them feel valued, but you are also helping them by teaching by example. Children model their parents’ behaviors, and if you are keen to show that you listen and then act on the information you are given, your children will do the same, and this will help them greatly throughout their lives.
Self-Esteem, Emotional & Social Skills
A child who knows that they are their parents’ priority and has no doubt whatsoever about that is a child who has innate high self-esteem and who will, therefore, be able to go on to do whatever they want to do because they automatically feel they can do it. It is even more important in busier families, however. A child who can see that they rank above everything else from the groceries to work to after-school activities and more will be more confident in themselves and know that they have their family’s love behind them at all times.
As children grow, their emotions go through many changes, and without the right parenting, this can cause many problems. In order to have well-adjusted, happy children, despite the hormonal and emotional changes that are happening as they enter their teens, they need to be listened to and not judged. Keeping up a regular connection with your child by, at the very least, asking how their day was, will remind them that there is someone who can help them and who will listen to them no matter what they have to say.
One day, your children will grow up and leave home to do their own thing. They will need to interact successfully with strangers in the street, their boss, their clients, a partner, their own children, and many other people who they will meet along the way. If you have given them a good grounding by listening to them throughout their childhood, and if they know you are still there to listen to them today, their social skills will be much better, and they will be able to cope with any situation that comes their way. This will make them outstanding employees and employers, and it will make them loyal and selfless friends. It will also increase their ability to problem solve and think laterally, making them much more successful no matter what they choose to do.