Hear Your Child out: It Works!
It is important to remember that children experience anxiety in their own individual way. Most children find it calming to be able to talk about their anxiety and to explain to their parents what they think is causing these feelings.
Parents should listen with respect, accepting what the child is saying as being an accurate representation of what he/she thinks is true, and should avoid making premature judgments. Be careful of your reaction to their problems for there could be fear in the child’s mind about what you are going to say about the issue at hand. Being a good listener does not mean that you should be mute.
You need to listen effectively. Sometimes the most important aspect of listening is validating the child’s emotions and experiences. Adolescents will be willing to talk to their parents about sex, alcohol and other important topics, only if they know their parents will listen. Certain kinds of responses such as giving too much advice or pretending to have all the answers, have been known to block the lines of communication.
Effective listening needs concentration and practice. If you are judgmental or critical, your child may decide that you just don’t understand. You cannot be a good influence on someone who won’t talk to you. Ultimately, `support’ is the fundamental ingredient for enabling your child to develop coping skills.
Children with supportive parents know that their parents can alleviate their distress, or will at least try their best to help out. They will be there for them unconditionally and this will inculcate trust in them and they will successfully learn to be confident and happy. In his book The Art of Happiness, the Dalai Lama says, ‘Parents must have a commitment to their offspring in order for them to thrive and move in the right direction.’
Dr Shayama Chona, an academic, was born in Shimla on August 12, 1942. She is the former Principal of Delhi Public School, R K Puram, New Delhi; Founder President of Tamana (NGO for physically & mentally handicapped children); Founder of Anubhav Shiksha Kendra (a school for the under-privileged); she has been a member of 96 Advisory Boards and Committees; she has been nominated to Managing Committees of 46 schools and other educational institutions; she has been named in the Limca Book of Records 2007. She has been awarded the State Award for Services in Education 1993, National Award for Services as a Teacher of Outstanding Merit 1994, National Award for Outstanding Performance for Welfare of People with Disabilities 1997, Padma Shri 1999, Padma Bhushan 2008, and 49 other awards. She lives at C10/8, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi-110057. Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org