In Chapter 4 of Connect with Your Kid, I explain how to summarize what you think you’re hearing, so your child can confirm whether you really understand what they’re trying to express. The skill of listening to understand is powerful, and the impacts are huge. Kids really love it when they know they’ve been understood.
But what about you? When you have something important to say, don’t you want to be sure your child really gets the message?
Of course you do.
You’re much better at expressing yourself, so most of the time there’s no confusion. But kids don’t have the powerful listening skills described in Connect with Your Kid. So where does that leave you? They don’t know anything about “checking the message.” When it’s important to be heard, you could be left with miscommunications and misunderstandings.
Good news. There’s a neat technique for getting them to check what you’re trying to get across. When its important that they really hear you, simply ask them what they believe you were trying to say. Essentially, you help them check the message. A couple examples:
- “This is important. In your own words, what did I just say to you?”
- “I need you to hear me on this. What did I just say?”
If they get it right, terrific! You know you’ve been heard. But if their perception of what you said is a little off, you can say it again more clearly.
Try it sometime when you really need to be heard.