After one of my presentations, one mother asked me why we should use active listening when our children might not change their mind and still do what they do. Well I came up with many reasons for the value of acknowledgement and active listening.
I have an excellent illustration with something that happened to me today.
As usual, I felt over scheduled today, yet I made great progress and stayed on time. As if I didn’t have enough to do, I added another task – to wash my dirty car that had bird droppings on it. I allotted myself 40 minutes to wash my car. I did the best I could even though I knew I could not dry or wax it. At least it doesn’t look embarrassing anymore! I left the car in the carport and went inside to change and go out for my next appointment.
For those who don’t know me I
usually do not show many negative feelings to others (even though I believe
It was a different case today when I came out to board my car. A gardener had just passed by with his leaf blower. I gasped! My car was covered with dust and leaves – all were stuck well to the wet surface of my car. I rolled my eyes, and got into the car and continued talking to myself. The gardener probably read my body language; he walked to my car and made an effort to blow the dust from my car. His attempt was not very successful, but all my negative feelings of disappointment and disbelief were gone. I opened the door, smiled at him and thanked him for his kind attempt.
Sometimes we need so little to feel much better. So why not offer this to our children?
–“I see you really wish this play date would never end, huh?”
–“It seems you would love to have candy for lunch and ice cream for dinner.”
–“I understand that you really hope I would stay, and not have to go to work.”
These statements of acknowledgement bring comfort to a tense situation and show children we are aware of their distaste or disagreement. By acknowledging and active listening, we are open to the contrary even if we can’t go along with the contrary. We listen and nod with an understanding body language. This diffuses those moments when our children feel powerless!