"But mom/dad, weren't you listening? I just told you!"
How often has this been your child's indignant response when you ask them a question?
In the busy families of today, multi-tasking parents sometimes forget how important it is to _really _listen to their kids, says parenting expert Nikki Bush.
She lists three fundamentally important questions children ask their parents non-verbally every single day:
Do you see me?
Do you hear me?
- Am I important to you?
Aside from being distracted by the need to multi-task, there's another habit that affects the quality of an interchange - thinking of what your reply is going to be, instead of listening to what's being said with your full attention.
Bush quotes from the book "25 Ways to Win with People":
'The fundamental cause of nearly all communication problems is that people don't listen to understand, they listen to reply.'— Nikki Bush, Parenting expert
This happens not only with our children, but in all our relationships.— Nikki Bush, Parenting expert
Bush says when it comes to young children particularly, vocalising a thought is a slow process because the brain is learning a new skill.
She advises guarding against the temptation to cut them off, or finish their sentences.
It short-circuits that communication loop and they start feeling like we're not listening to them, or that their ideas are not good enough.— Nikki Bush, Parenting expert
This can affect self-esteem and confidence. In families with more than one child, it can also result in an older or more articulate sibling talking for the other.
For more on this important topic, take a listen: