By acknowledging, without disqualifying, the feelings of your children, your wife or husband, you help them overcome them and establish an important emotional connection with them. The good listener few words. Learn to listen to your wife, husband, and children.
When I started reading the book How to Talk for Teens to Listen and How to Listen for Teens to Speakby Adele Faber and Eliane Mazlish –experts in adult-child communication–, I had the firm intention of writing an article that would help parents communicate with their teenage children. However, I found valuable resources that can help improve communication at all levels: the errors in communication that the book illustrates are made not only with our children, but also with our husband or wife. Would you like to understand what your children or your husband are trying to tell you? Would you like to genuinely hear them? Would you like to respond in a timely manner to their needs? The good listener few words. Learn to listen to your wife, husband, and children. Read in this note how to achieve it:
Focus on the feelings
The first chapter of the Faber and Mazlish book deals with the importance you should attach to the other’s feelings. Usually when someone wants to tell you something you pay more attention to the tone they use or perhaps their attitude, but you don’t go to what they are trying to tell you or what they feel. We go by parts, although everything that accompanies the message intervenes and influences communication, that is what you have to put aside to get to the key of the message; By doing so, without realizing it, you win twice, because not only do you manage to understand the feelings of the person speaking to you, but you also disarm them, making them lower their guard and trust you.
In the particular case of children, it is a valuable resource. As a mother, many times you can become distressed by not knowing what happens to your children, you feel helpless when you see them sad, depressed, upset, but you do not know how to react, and you can fall into criticism or suddenly judge them for their feelings, for their attitude, by their behavior or advise them on how to resolve situations. With all this, however, the only thing you achieve is that they become more closed to communication and you cannot get to the bottom of their feelings, which, in any case, is the most valuable thing.
What should you do then?
Allow them to express their feelings. Do not judge them if they are sad or upset, let them express themselves, even if they do not do it in the right way; In contrast, when you allow others to express what they feel without facing criticism because they cry or to show their anger, you create an environment more conducive to dialogue. Once the person has taken out their pain, their anger, they will be more prepared to speak.
When listening to them do not try to give solutions, just show understanding, say things like, “I understand how you feel”, “It’s true, that is very painful”, “You are right, it is frustrating”. You cannot imagine the effect of these words; you will get your husband, wife or your children to be in tune with you, to open up emotionally and to be willing to continue talking about what they feel.
At this moment you will be wondering, and when do I intervene, when can I guide my son, my husband or my wife, in this situation? Once your children or your husband have finished recounting the situation and expressing their feelings, you can say, for example, “Do you think I can do something to help you?” Or intervene by saying, “What will you do now?” This will create a climate in which little by little you can give a suggestion to the alternatives that are presented to you. At the end you can close with the following, “Trust yourself, you will know how to make the best decision”, or “I am here for when you need me.”
By acknowledging, without disqualifying, the feelings of your children or your husband or wife, you help them overcome them and build an important emotional connection that allows them to trust you and improve not only communication, but also the relationship. In this article you will find another way to communicate with your husband.
Other resources that can help you improve communication, according to the authors of the book, are the following:
- Not giving orders. Orders often produce anger and resistance; instead, explain the problem to them and they will try to be part of the solution, “If you take two pieces of pizza, your brother will run out of his share.”
- Describe what you feel. When you feel upset, angry, or disappointed about something, instead of accusing them by preventing them from getting defensive, just describe how you feel, “I feel a little disappointed, I was hoping to find dinner ready; that’s where we had agreed ”.
- Do not threaten. Faced with threats, others can be defiant, so he presents alternatives; Instead of, “If you go to the street dressed this way, you won’t go with me” you can say, “Let’s go to a formal place, how about wearing a more suitable shirt or maybe a jacket over the shirt?”
- Do not give long speeches. Normally others tune out to long speeches, so a short reminder would be fine, and instead of saying, “How many times do I have to tell you not to leave your jacket on the couch when you get home?” Your jacket”.
- Do not criticize. Rather, express, respectfully and clearly, your expectations; that is, what do you expect from them. Instead of saying, “You always have a mess in your room,” try “How would I like to see your room clean and tidy.”
- Replace criticism with humor. This is something I always do with my son, to whom, instead of telling him to take the dishes he has in his room to the kitchen, I always say: “Shall we move the kitchen?”, And he laughs and picks up earthenware.
- Say it in writing. I loved the example in the book: Instead of telling his son to take his pet to the park, a father wrote him a note that said, “Dear Jeff, I either go outside or go inside! With love, Pepper ”.
Every day we must try new and different ways of communicating when the ones we use don’t work; tolerance, respect and acceptance of the other are essential values in communication. I wish you reach the heart of your family!
You can also read this other interesting article about tips for talking with teenagers.