Child: I wish I could get a cold once in a while, like Katie. She's lucky.
A. You feel you're sort of left out.
B. Oh! Don't wish you were sick!
C. You're jealous of Katie.
The correct answer is: C. You're jealous of Katie. Of the three choices, this is the most congruent, accurate response. It reflects back what the feeling that the child expresses in his/her statmement, and allows the child to run with his feeling and solve his own problem.
The first choice, A. "You feel you're sort of left out" does not directly address the underlying feeling in the child's statement. While the child's jealousy may lead to feeling left out, jealousy is the most underlying, immediate feeling.
The second choice, B. "Oh! Don't wish you were sick!" does not reflect anything back. This is the ordering/directing roadblock. This communicates unacceptance of the child, takes responsibility away from the child, and can even cause resistance.
Child: Yes. She gets to stay out of school and I never do.
A. You wish you could stay out of school more too.
B. You should want to be in school.
C. You never get anything you want.
The correct answer here is: A. You wish you could stay out of school more too. This statement again most accurately reflects the child's feelings.
Answer B, "You should want to be in school," is another Roadblock. This is the moralizing/preaching Roadblock. This response can create guilty feelings in the child, can cause the child to "dig in" and defend his or her position even more, and it can also lead to withdrawal or alienation.
Answer C, "You never get anything you want," lacks congruency. This statement reflects feelings that are far more extreme than what the child is expressing. When the degree of feeling is understated or overdone in Active Listening, you risk coming off as fake or phoney to the child/other.
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