Apparently, Google is not to blame for turning everything upside down — it offers what is more often sought. But for Children's Day, we want to answer exactly the first question - what should parents do to listen and hear their children. So that children feel their value, attention to themselves, and on this foundation build their relationship with their parents and with the whole world. Psychologist of the charity fund "Voices of Children" Ruslana Moroz advises how parents can turn on an attentive listener.
Ruslana Moroz, psychologist of the charity fund "Voices of Children", senior researcher at the UNMC of Practical Psychology and Social Work of the National Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of Ukraine
At first glance, listening is that easy. You just need to want, focus, pay attention. However, in practice, people at every step have difficulties in communication, including with their children.
Difficulties arise at least because of the difference in experience. Not in the sense that someone has "a lot" or "few" experience — it's just different. Everyone has their own associations, their knowledge, and therefore their own meanings. So it turns out that we use the same, seemingly understandable words for everyone, but there is a possibility that we understand them differently. It's like six and nine — one symbol, but it depends very much on which side to look at it.
The emotional state also matters – we can perceive information differently, depending on whether we are now joyful, irritated, sad, angry, etc.
Communication with children is special because they not only experience emotions, but also learn to recognize them, name, understand their causes and manage their manifestations. Children are far from pros in this, so the role of an adult is to support and direct these processes as much as possible.
Here are ten tips on how to encourage your kids to connect and hear them
Pay attention when your child starts a conversation with you
Ideally, this means putting everything aside and listening to the children's story with concentration. In the real world, moms and dads sometimes can't respond immediately — because they're really busy, really tired, and so on. In this case, it's still important to have calm and friendly contact with your child: "Honey, I really want to hear this story about Sky from Paw Patrol, but right now I need two more minutes to finish my business. Right after that, I'll love to listen." During a conversation, it is desirable to be on the same level with the child. If she is still small, sit down on her level or take her in your arms.
Help your child recognize and channel their emotions
Try to catch what the child is going through when he shares stories from kindergarten or school with you. Then say it out loud so your child can see his emotions like in a mirror: "Wow, what a sad story! I would be upset too if my ice cream fell to the ground!" If appropriate, suggest how to act on this emotion: "You know, when I'm sad, I want to be alone" or "This situation is so upsetting that I want to cry." When we name a child's emotion, he is aware of what is happening to him. Thanks to this, the child will learn to build a chain between what happened, how he feels, how to describe it and what to do about it. It is important to emphasize that all experiences are normal: all people are angry, happy, sad, irritated, etc. It is important that they do not harm others: "We cannot beat others, no matter how angry we are with them. But we can butt the ball very hard or tear a piece of paper, imagining that we are an evil dinosaur!"
Watch your reactions while talking
Sometimes you may casually hurt the feelings of a child. For example, a dad may react to a children's story with laughter, meaning laughter from emotion/admiration/joy, and the child may perceive it as ridicule. Or frowning eyebrows, which for some are simply thoughtful, may seem to the child a manifestation of parental dissatisfaction and disapproval. This does not mean that parents should always walk with an imperturbable-stone face. However, we must remember that children (and not only children) can make mistakes in the interpretation of your emotions. If you see that communication has suddenly changed, and the child has closed, pay attention to find out the reason.
Be aware of the difference in experiences
Sometimes children emotionally share with their parents what seems obvious, not exciting enough, everyday to their parents. Then there is the temptation to devalue the child's emotions. For example, a child is delighted to say: "Mom, this is such a beautiful balloon!", "I was so scratched in the morning after a mosquito bite!". That ball is like a ball", "also news to me, it is always scratched" - it is important to restrain such reactions if they spin on the tongue. What is familiar to you for a child can be a shock, delight, discovery. She should be supported in this experience.
Do not betray your trust
Children share very vulnerable experiences with their parents and are extremely painful if parents retell it to other people. For example, a boy told his mother that he fell in love with a classmate, and then he hears his mother tell this to his girlfriend on the phone. For mom, this is a funny story that I want to share. For a child, this is a secret that he entrusted to the closest person. Will he trust a second time? It's better not to test — just don't cheat.
Evaluate actions, not personalities
It is important to give feedback about individual actions of the child, and not about him in general. Even when she behaves "badly" – which often means "not in the way parents would like". In practice, it looks something like this: "I'm upset that you didn't clean up as we agreed" instead of "You're lazy and never keep promises." In general, we should be careful with the words "never", "always" and other generalizations – as soon as we start using them, it means that we are no longer talking about a separate act and situation, but generalizing. Negative parental evaluation of a child's personality often programs children into negative beliefs about themselves that accompany them all their lives and which can be extremely difficult to eradicate.
Respect your child's boundaries
Respect for personal boundaries manifests itself in small everyday situations: for example, how you handle children's things. Sometimes parents can give their daughter's or son's toy to another child on the playground without permission. They strive to appear polite in the eyes of others, but neglect their child's feelings. So she can feel that adults decide everything for her, and her desires and views are not important.
Help your child protect his boundaries
Imagine that the teacher picks on your child's appearance – for example, he does not braid his hair, but walks "disheveled". In such a situation, it is very important for the child to feel parental support, as well as to see a correct but effective way to defend himself. She will definitely be helpful if you explain to the teacher that braiding hair is not a requirement at school and does not affect the child's academic performance and abilities. Thanks to your protection, the child will gradually learn to defend himself.
Do not interrogate
Sometimes children do not want to talk, do not want to share their experiences. And this is quite normal. Someone is prone to this because of the characteristics of character, temperament. Sometimes parents are especially worried about the closeness of the child, if his brother or sister, on the contrary, is elevated dialect. But comparing two children to each other is not a good idea. It is worth comparing only the child with himself in the past and relying not only on the amount of communication, but also on other manifestations. That is, if the child began to communicate less, eat differently, behave differently, this may be a cause for concern. Otherwise, sometimes the child just needs to be left alone.
Show by example
It really works. If you want your child to come to you and share the news, do it too, with him, and with others. If you want your child to adhere to the agreements, show the master class. It is useless to expect from a child behavior that parents do not show on themselves (and even more so if they show the opposite).
In communication between parents and children, problems often arise, because parents want to hear what is convenient for them. And when this does not happen, they quickly lose patience. Instead, children want to be heard, want attention and respect for their desires. Of course, parents cannot and do not have to satisfy all desires – they must restrict, control and guide children. Therefore, it is worth seeking a compromise and negotiating.
First - an agreement, then - requirements. Sometimes, as a mediator, I help children and parents find common ground. When agreements appear in their lives, it changes beyond recognition, and shocked parents say: "What a wonderful son, it turns out, I have!". In fact, it has always been great, we just find understanding, and everyone feels heard.
In Soviet times, educational ideology was violent: you can't pick up so as not to accustom them to hands, you can't praise children so as not to praise, and so on. Now I notice more and more that parents are working on themselves. Modern parents learn a lot and learn to change their own patterns. "I remember how it was in my family, and I don't want to repeat it," they often say.
And now parents are much more likely to turn to child psychologists preventively, purely for diagnosis, to check – "am I doing everything right in my relationship with my child?", "Can I do something differently?". Previously, I did not notice this, but now it is gradually becoming the norm and very pleasing.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): what is dangerous and how it manifests itself in children and adults
- Parental mistakes: how not to spoil relations with adolescent children
- How to teach children to resist ridicule and insults at school