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Posts Tagged ‘listening’


Ever been frustrated with your partner because he or she didn’t listen listening skillsto you that one time, and that other time, too? Of course you have – every marriage experiences this. If both partners in a marriage defensively listen to each other, they create distance. However, when both partners listen to each other empathetically instead of defensively, they foster a closer connection. This involves learning how to actively listen. Here are a few principles:

Stop what you are doing. If you try to listen while you are doing something, the probability of you getting distracted is pretty high. Stop, and give all your attention to your partner.
Establish eye contact. Your partner’s big pools of brown eyes may be dreamy, and looking directly at your partner can create a space of active listening.
Don’t interrupt. This is a biggie! Let your partner finish his or her story or thought before you respond. Interrupting is a danger zone fraught with miscommunication and misunderstanding.
Repeat what they said in your own words. This ensures that not only did you hear what he or she said, but that you also understand it.
Practice empathy If your partner had a rough day, and you perceive their lack of active listenership or uncharacteristic communication, try to see their point of view. This is very proactive and beneficial. It also establishes the concept of being understood, which is extremely important in active listening.

Not sure where to start? Try asking your spouse how their day went, and put these active listening principles in to action.

How to Actively Listen to Your Spouse


Parenting is all about communicating with your child, Communicating with Childrenand positive two-way communication is important to achieving a healthy relationship and building your child’s self-esteem. When a child wants to talk, it can be easy for parents to interject and correct when their child uses the wrong word, or disagrees. These “chat killers” are also communication killers, and have negative consequences on their self-esteem and confidence.

It becomes increasingly important as your child grows older to share ideas and listen, instead of insisting on talking or correcting. This way, you ensure that your child understands that you value what he or she is talking about and that you are opening up a communication channel that is a flow of ideas and opinions both ways.

Be mindful of your body language, too. Remember that the way you carry and position yourself can have a significant impact on the quality of communication. Make eye contact with your children when they are talking to show that you are listening. Try not to stand above them, but squat down so you are at the same height. Keep in mind the little body language cues such as toe tapping, finger drumming, eye rolling, or sighing, as these can show dissonance and cause children to back away from the conversation.

Finally, remember that communication means paying attention, and paying attention means listening. The next time your child wants to have a chat with you, resist all temptation to interject disagreements, corrections, or other “chat killers”, and focus on listening and sharing ideas.


Attention! Sound off: paying attention to your child is important! The Complete Idiot's Guide to a Well-Behaved Child by Ericka Lutz

In her book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to a Well-Behaved Child, Erica Lutz pens 12 different self-discipline strategies, and the first one is an encouragement to pay attention to your child (via Family Education). This seems like obvious parenting, but its importance is often underscored in our busy world.

Parenting is the art of paying attention; you can learn nearly everything about your child – and parenting in general –by simply paying attention to him or her. Parents are constantly asked to multitask, yet children require close, frequent attention – not every moment of the day, but often. And, as your child grows, the amount of vis-à-vis time together decreases, but that’s when quality time is king.

This isn’t easy to do, however. Paying attention means more than being in the same room together – it’s more than being physically present. It must be about knowing how to communicate with your child. You have to learn how they talk and listen, and how you should respond. Here are some quick tips to maximize your quality time with your child, while maintaining your busy life (which is possible!):

• Use your multitasking skills. If you have to go to the post office anyway, stop by the park on your way home, and spend some time playing.
• Get organized. Your family should be your top priority, so focus on cultivating relationships with your children, rather than trying to get your “to-do” list done.
• Set up a family huddle, once per week “family meeting”.