Monday, January 17, 2011

Reflective Listening

The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. 
~Thich Nhat Hanh
One of the ways we feel valued as human beings is when we feel truly heard by others.  Now that doesn’t mean someone just hears what we say and agrees just to move on to the next thing.  It’s when someone really listens and understands what we have to say.  How often do you do that with your loved ones, especially your children?  How often do you sit down, look in their eyes, and have an actually conversation with them?  I know for me I spend a lot of time barking orders and if I do listen it’s about their day or how soccer practice went or how they did on a test.  I’ve decided to develop a different approach and actually get to know my son as a person, who he is not what he does.
One thing I’m going to do is practice reflective listening.  The main idea is to try to understand what the person is trying to communicate to you and then to “reflect” the idea back to the person to make sure it’s understood.  This is a great way to communicate with children because you can make them feel heard and figure out what they are really trying to say instead of trying to mold their ideas into what you feel they should be. 
First, sit still and listen.  If you interrupt or fidget it will indicate you’re not really interested in what they have to say.  Second, make eye contact and nod your head and say encouraging things to show you’re paying attention like “mmm,” “uh huh,” and “go on.”  When there’s a break in their speaking, try to sum up what they’ve said in your own words-this is the reflective part and is very important.  You will keep them opening up to you if you show you understand what they’re saying.  Don’t push or dig for information, give them space to confide in you.  Make sure you don’t criticize, that shows you’re judging not listening and understanding which will make them feel as if they can’t confide in you!   
Reflective listening goes a long way in satisfying your child’s need to be listened to and understood.  It will help you build a stronger bond with them and will teach them how to listen to others, including you!  I’ve decided to set aside 15 minutes a day after school to look in my son's eyes reflectively listen to him.  I can't think of anything more important on my to-do list than building a connection with my guy.
How much time will you set aside to try this with your kids?  Do you think this is a valuable idea?

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At January 21, 2011 at 9:07 PM , Blogger Michelle said...

OMG! You sound just like me! Check out my "Learning to Not say No" and "Making my kids my Priority" posts! I'll be following you!

At January 21, 2011 at 11:57 PM , Blogger ace and friends co. said...

hi there. your newest bloggy moms follower. happy Friday! would *love* a follow back. you can find me at:

lots of FUN giveaways... come by and enter!

At January 22, 2011 at 12:22 AM , Blogger 1 Funky Woman said...

This is so what I need to do. I'm pretty good at barking orders also, that's the easy thing. We tell our kids to stand still and talk to us, I guess it would be good to practice what we preach!

New follower from Bloggy Moms! I'd love for you to stop on over at


At January 22, 2011 at 10:54 AM , Blogger Texas Type A Mom said...

Hi there! New follower from Bloggy Moms! I'm following you - please follow back when you get a chance!

At January 22, 2011 at 5:53 PM , Blogger SAHM and Marine Wife said...

New follower through Bloggy Moms!

At January 22, 2011 at 6:10 PM , Blogger Mohamed Fayaz Khan said...

What a brilliant suggestion. I am going to start tomorrow. My daughter started school this year and it is a 15 minute commute and it is truly the best part of my day. She has questions lined up for me everyday and we get to truly bond. The only time I don't mind the traffic :)

At January 23, 2011 at 12:46 AM , Blogger mmc67 said...

I am your newest follower. Feel Free to follow back

At January 25, 2011 at 11:59 AM , Blogger DP said...

Very good idea! I'm your newest follower. Hope you check out my blog and follow back!

Hip Chick's Guide to PMS, Pregnancy, and Babies

At January 25, 2011 at 1:53 PM , Blogger Clayton Thomas said...

Newest follower- This was a great post. Really taking the time to listen attentively as parents though we have so much on our plates is so important. It's time well spent.


At January 25, 2011 at 8:07 PM , Blogger Susanna Carbajal said...

I can totally relate to your pov :-)
Thanks and hope you'll follow me too

At January 26, 2011 at 11:54 AM , Blogger Brea said...

Reflective listening is SUCH a great tool! Thanks for reminding me! I've been meaning to work on my listening skills....

At January 26, 2011 at 12:16 PM , Blogger Brea said...

Almost forgot (oops!)! I wanted to pop on by and give you the VERSATILE BLOGGER AWARD!! I love your blog :)

At January 26, 2011 at 7:19 PM , Blogger Debbie said...

Listening goes hand in hand with thinking and waiting. Parents are often too quick to say no or to voice opinions. If I could go back I would shut up and listen more.

At January 29, 2011 at 9:28 AM , Blogger Janice said...

Thank you so much for your kind words on my blog.

Just wanted to stop by to say hi and I am a new follower

At January 29, 2011 at 12:00 PM , Blogger Amanda-The Nutritionist Reviews said...

Cute blog!

I just found your blog through a Saturday blog hop. Have a great weekend!

Amanda @

At January 29, 2011 at 10:31 PM , Blogger Logan Beth Fisher said...

Reflective listening. Something I need to work on with my teens! Love the blog. Hope you'll join mine!

At January 30, 2011 at 3:51 PM , Anonymous Johanna said...

Following you from bloggy moms, hope you me back at : )


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