Communication Tips: Listening

How does your family communicate?

Families communicate in many different ways, some helpful, some not so much. Consider how you as a parent communicate with your children. What you do sets the example for how your children behave. Change what you do, and your children will likely change how they respond to you.


  •  Communication begins by listening and indicating you hear the child’s feelings and meanings.
  • Effective listening involves establishing eye contact and posture which clearly indicates you are listening.
  • Avoid nagging, criticizing, threatening, lecturing, probing and ridiculing.
  • Treat your children the way you treat your best friend.
  • Mutual respect involves accepting the child’s feelings.
  • Reflective listening involves hearing the child’s feelings and meanings and stating this so the child feels understood. It provides a mirror for the child to see himself or herself more clearly.
  • Learn to give open responses that accurately state what the other person feels and means.
  •  Avoid closed responses which ignore the child’s feelings, relaying that we have not heard or understood.
  • Let the child learn. Resist the impulse to impose your solutions.
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