When you hear the word communication – what do you think?
Unfortunately for most people when they hear the word “communication” they immediately think about speech. How they talk and how others talk to them. The key to effective communication though comes in the form of listening and this is what I believe we should be teaching our children.
When our children learn to listen they will learn that often problems can be resolved so that everyone feels validated, heard and can walk away with a solution they are happy with. When they listen they will learn that sometimes what we think the other person is saying/feeling is actually not in fact the case. When they listen they will learn that sometimes the best way to make someone feel heard is not in offering a solution but just offering an ear.
The hard part to this though is that we as parents need to teach our children these practices and the best way to do this is to model this behaviour. If you are not used to listening in this manner it can be tough.
When I started out on this journey a few weeks ago it was really tough. Every time my daughter, my husband, family or friends wanted to talk to me I reminded myself that I needed to listen. I am so used to doing multiple things at once but when I wanted to change the way I listened to make sure that I was actually listening that meant I had to stop and focus my attention on what they were saying. I had to ask questions to learn what they wanted from me. Did they want a solution, did they want empathy did they simply just want to talk.
These last few weeks have been a huge learning curve for me. I have learnt that more times than not I am better off being quiet than offering an opinion. I am better off letting silence be heard so that my loved ones can come to their own solution than suggesting one myself. I have also learnt that this is one of the best tools that I can give my daughter.
In every aspect of our lives we need to communicate with people. The most powerful message though is received in listening to others.
Can you relate to this? Do you ‘listen’? Please share in the comments below.