How do we show our children that we are really listening, when they come to us with a problem?
Here are 7 easy steps to empathetic listening;
1. Focus on the child. Your eyes, your body and your ears are fully engrossed in what the child has to tell you.
2. Acknowledge that you have heard them. “I understand what you have just told me and I’d like to find out more about what happened.”
3. Be attuned to inferential clues. Be aware of your body language and theirs. Are there non verbal signals that tell you much more of the story. What body language messages are you emitting.
4. Ask open ended questions. Allow the child to tell you the full story. Give simple prompts that will allow them to get everything out.
5. Paraphrase and clarify things. Tell their story back to them using the same language and clarify some of the finer points. “Then he hit you, cam you show me what kind of hit it was?”
6. Reflect their feelings. Discuss how it made them feel. Talk about why those feelings arose, what they mean and how we can use them to reflect.
7. Summarise the situation and make a plan. Inform them of your opinion and tell them that going forward we are going to work together to combat the issue.
Being an empathetic lister.