Have you ever heard somebody use the term “lean in”?

It quickly became common as a business motto in 2013, taken from the title of the book. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, and Nell Scovell, a writer and Sandberg’s collaborator.

It was used to mean asserting yourself in workplace situations in order to become the kind of positive, involved presence that will further your career.

I’ve always thought it was an awkward term for that purpose. In my view, the act of leaning in would better describe a way to make listening more effective. A good listening nonverbal would be the tendency to lean slightly toward the speaker, as if to show interest in what they’re saying. When your child feels heard, understood, and respected, the bond between you grows, and they’re far more open to taking your parental guidance and wisdom seriously.

Have you read my brief e-book on this topic? Listening to Understand: The Superpower of Strong Parents? Listening–and 9 other crucial parent-child communication skills, are explained in more detail in my how -to book, Connect with Your Kid: