Active listening is a way of showing understanding. It involves listening carefully and then, from time to time, describing how you think the person is feeling, or summing up what you think she has said. Let her correct or add to what you have said. Keep listening until you can tell she feels understood. Here are some ideas to help you be an active listener with your child:
• Take time to listen carefully to what the child is saying.
• See if you can identify what the child is feeling.
• Ask the child: “I wonder if you feel ___________ (sad, alone, frustrated, confused).”
• After you describe the feeling, the child may want to correct or add to what you have said. Listen carefully.
• Maybe you will want to try again to describe what the child is feeling.
Active listening lets the child know you care about what she feels. Taking time to understand what children feel sends a powerful message to them. It says to them, “You’re important to me. I care about your feelings. I want to understand how you see things.” Understanding is a powerful way to show love.
If we take time to listen to and understand our children, they are more likely to become confident and caring people. It takes many years to learn how to be as understanding as we would like to be. But it’s well worth the effort.
Source : Principles of Parenting. H Wallace Goddard.