The book, Connect with Your Kid, is a how-to manual for improving the 10 most important parent-child communication skills. And listening to understand is at the top of the list, for several reasons:
- When your child is trying to express something, you need to hear it.
- Your child will “feel felt.” It sends the message: What you have to say is important to me. I really want to hear what’s on your mind.
- Listening is a key component of all the other communication skills.
And here’s something else you need to know: These ten skills are universal. They can make a huge difference in all your relationships:
- Friends and family
- Work relationships: As a leader and team member
And one more thing. Not only will your child be an adult someday, when communication skills will be a difference-maker for creating powerful relationships in all aspects of their lives. The skills can be enormously beneficial for your child right now, during adolescence.
Imagine your child responding with listening to gain a clear understanding of a teacher’s coaching. Or consider how a best-friend relationship could be enriched if your child knew how to listen when the other person needed to talk. Or even better, what if they used listening skills to grasp what you’re trying to tell them. More dialogue, less arguing. More resolution, less conflict. Appreciating the point of your feedback.
Granted, these wonderful outcomes are rare. But that’s because teens are almost never encouraged to practice the fundamentals of listening.
But that could change. While you’re sharpening your own skills, consider sharing the instruction in Chapter 4 of Connect with Your Kid with your child. Your child could become the 1-in-10,000 young adult who shows up already skilled in listening to understand.
A good idea: You and your child can make it a joint project. You can share the book with your child, then coach each other to ingrain the skills of better listening. For tips on how to coach, see the book Parents Coaching Parents. Read it with from the perspective of agreeing to partner with your child with the goal of becoming skilled listeners.
Yes, this is outside the box! But the benefits are off the charts, and you can do this.