Expat Life

How to listen to our children and how to make them listen to us

LISTENI just read an interesting post from Tessa and a parenting course she was following about how to listen to our children. It’s not always possible to give full attention when our child (or our children!) talk to us. The advise Tessa has been given was to stop what you’re doing (yes, also blogging!) “turn and look at them and listen properly”. And if we really can’t stop our task, we still can tell them “I’m busy but in 10 minutes I will stop and listen” and really remember to do so. This works pretty well if your children can wait that long (or even longer) and do remember what they wanted to tell you… If not, my advice is to make them write down what they wanted to say or make a picture. Or ask them to give you a hint, so that you can help them reminding what they wanted to say.

The second thing she learnt was “about reflecting back and repeating back to your child what he has said to you”. This is very important as it ensures your child that you are really hearing what he says and that you emphasize.

Tessa’s post did remind me of what one of my daughters said to me the other day. She was busy playing when I tried to tell her something and she said to me : “Not now, mom, I’m busy. Talk to me later”.

She was applying the same method to me! So, I’m wondering: shouldn’t we expect the same behaviour from our children too? If we want to tell them something, shouldn’t they stop doing what they’re doing, turn and look at us and listen properly, maybe even reflect back and repeat to us what we were saying? This would ensure us parents that they are really hearing what we said, right? I must confess that I ask my children to do so with really important things, but maybe I should do it more often.

I would also add another tip: with children who really have a hard time to listen or generally focus, if you bend down or over to them and touch their shoulders or look them straight in the eyes, they listen much better than if you talk to them from a distance.

By the way, this works also with collegues, friends, partners etc. (you might skip the bending down part…)


Recommended book(s):

How to Talk So Kids will Listen & Listen So Kids will Talk, Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish. New York: Scribner Classics, 2012.

9 replies »

  1. This is such a better way to communicate because barking and yelling at kids will only make them reciprocate it right back ; all parents,and soon -to -be ones, can only benefit ;:))

  2. Greetings! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick
    shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading your articles.

    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that cover
    the same topics? Thanks a lot!

    • Thank you very much! Well, I suggest that you try to search per topic among the wordpress blogs or over the internet. I’ve listed the blogs I follow on the right side of this page. Maybe you find some interesting blog among them? – Anyway, welcome to my blog and I hope to seeing and reading you soon. 😉

  3. The listening part is, I think, the most important part for us, as parents. If there is one lesson I have learned in life it is that people tend to respond in kind. By actively and earnestly listening to our kids we are benefiting in two ways 1–we are demonstrating a behavior we want to see and 2–more importantly we will reap the benefits of being much more in touch with those we love.

    • You are perfectly right! Thank you so much for adding this. Another benefit is: we slow down… Sometimes we think that we always have to rush, to do more things and forget about slowing down and enjoy – and appreciate! – the little or big moments with the ones we love.

  4. Great work! This is the type of info that are supposed to be shared across the web. Disgrace on the search engines for no longer positioning this publish upper! Come on over and consult with my website . Thanks =)

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