Listening and Connecting

Aug 25, 2014

Your connection to your child will influence them far more than almost anything else in their lives (including any developmental challenges they have).

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 So how can you foster this connection? One key is to LISTEN. When they are telling you or showing you something (even if you don't agree) just LISTEN. Listen, listen, listen... and when you think you're finished listening, listen some more. They don't necessarily even need to be talking to need us to listen.

Sometimes you only need to give a "Mmmmm" or "Oh really?" in response here or there. Or let them know you've heard what they've said with an "I can see you're really upset about that." Sometimes listening means listening to them cry without trying to make them stop. Knowing that someone listened and understood is empowering for your child, no matter what their age or stage of development. Listening goes a long way towards building strong connections. And when you listen to your child you're modelling how to BE a good listener – a scarce creature in our busy world.

But it goes deeper than that. Sometimes your child will still seem frustrated and upset even though you are listening. And this brings us to reflecting. Reflecting lets your child know you heard and understand what they are telling you. This doesn't need to be with words. Reflection can be mirroring their expression, or mirroring the intensity of their emotions through your gestures and breathing. When you see a mother reflecting a child it will be like they are watching each other in the mirror - and it is a symbol of the deep connection and attachment that will nurture them through their lives. You can do this with words also, for example "That must have been really horrible!  I can see why you're so upset!" but it will mean much more if your words display an inkling of the emotions they are experiencing. This lets your child know you are "with" them...

So as we go about our lives and try and connect with our children... Give them your attention when they approach...Listen to their words and their feelings... Mirror your child so they know you get it...

Enter your child's world, so that they might enter yours.


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