The days of children should be seen and not heard have long passed in most cultures. Parents have begun listening to their childrens views and taking these views and opinions into account when making family decisions.
Even when there is a healthy balance of power and children understand parents are ultimately in charge, they still need to know their views are heard properly and that their parents see them as an important part of the family.
Why is it so important your childs views be heard?
It shows you have respect for your child. Any time you place your entire focus on another person speaking to you, it communicates respect. It shows you care enough to set aside all other activities and put your effort into hearing the persons thoughts and feelings.
Showing your child you respect her is essential to creating a strong relationship. It also demonstrates for children how important it is to show respect to others.
You are setting a good example for listening. Active listening can be a tough skill to learn. Anyone can hear words that are being said, but it takes some practice to really listen and engage in an exchange of ideas. In order for you to hear your childs views properly, you must perform active listening.
You take in the words, consider the views, and reiterate what your child has said back to her. Some call this process reflective listening. By demonstrating this to your child, you teach her how to do the same with you and with others. Reflective listening is a valuable skill that will help your child throughout her entire life.
You gain information from your child that can help you in the future. No matter how well behaved your child might be, there will be at least one point in her life when challenge will arise. It might be during a transition in the family or at some point during adolescence.
By establishing your ability to listen and really understand who she is, you will have valuable information you can use to navigate these tough childhood phases.
Listening to your child and ensuring her views are heard creates a safe environment for her. Not only does it establish an open exchange of communication between the two of you, it also allows her to feel safe confiding in you. She hears and heeds any safety warnings you provide and will feel comfortable sharing things with you as she grows into adulthood.
Research also shows that listening to your child encourages her to share her feelings, which reduces the risk for anti-social behavior and bullying. When a child learns at an early age that relationships are about give and take, and that it feels good to share her feelings, she might be less likely to lash out at others as she grows older.
Active listening and hearing your childs views is one of the best ways to show her you love her. Parents sometimes spend so much time worrying about their childs safety and the decisions she makes as she gains independence and grows older, they forget to do one of the simplest things there is to show a kid you care: listen. Everyone forms relationships through communication.
By talking and listening, you get to know another person and establish a connection with that person. When you truly hear your childs views and opinions, and you take those views and opinions to heart, your child feels respected and loved.