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Why Kids Tune Us Out

mother and daughter

"Did you hear what I said?" "Are you listening to me?" "Do I have to repeat myself 100 times?" "Do you understand what I am telling you?" "What did I just tell you to do?" "Are you deaf?" If you are tired of trying to communicate with a child who seems to be hard of hearing when you speak, perhaps there are some reasons.

You talk too much.
You talk too loud.
Every conversation is a criticism.
You don't listen when your child speaks.
Your child has trained you to nag.

Let's examine these listening lessons and see how you can improve:

You talk too much. Loving parents want to do the best for their children so they feel like if they tell them all the stories of how they struggled and how they know all the answers, the child will give up and do what they ask. This method of communication is lecture, advise, order and threaten.

You talk too loud. Parents may feel that if we raise our voices, kids will respond. Actually, It's the opposite. When you speak softly, your kids have to pay attention to what you are saying.

Every conversation is a criticism. Parents sometimes feel as if the way to motivate is through blame, shame, name-calling, sarcasm or jokes in order to put the child down.

You don't listen when your child speaks. Good communication in a family, workplace or world is built on mutual respect. That means we allow others to express their beliefs and feelings honestly, without fear of rejection.

You have trained your child to nag. Why should your child pick up his jacket the first time you tell him if he knows by experience that you will yell at him and then do it yourself?

How to listen to our kids:
Listening to our children and expecting them to listen to us requires concentration and practice. It involves establishing eye contact and a posture that says, "I'm listening." Sometimes, we show that we are good listeners by being silent. Sometimes it means a response both verbally and non-verbally. Pay attention to body language and facial expressions.

Closed and open communication. A closed response is when the listener does not indicate she heard or understood what was said. These responses tend to cut off communication and breed discouragement. An open response is when the feelings and words of the speaker have been acknowledged and the listener accepts the message. This opens the door to more respectful and reflective listening.

My advice to parents is to be firm, but kind, choose your battles and practice healthy communication.