When your child "Owns a Problem" or is experiencing strong feelings and Basic Listening is not enough, then the Skill of "Active Listening" is needed.
WHEN TO LISTEN
To successfully use your Active Listening tool when another person has a problem a decision to make or strong feelings about something, you must:
- Have time and be willing to listen
- Want to understand and help the other
- Be able to focus your attention on the other, not on yourself
- Trust the child or other person to come up with solutions that are best for him
1. Relieves "emotional flooding". When your child is experiencing a problem, feeling can overwhelm thoughts. A child can become emotionally flooded when feeling crowds out thoughts. Active Listening relieves emotional flooding and frees the intellect to get back to work.
2. Helps the other person to identify her real problem. When your child tells you about a problem, it is easy to immediately begin thinking about how you can help him/her resolve that situation. But what the child first tells you is not the real problem or complete problem. By Active Listening to the child, you can help her peel back the layers of the problem and identify the central issue.
PRESENTED PROBLEM: "I hate Tanya!"
SECOND LAYER: "Tanya gets so much attention"
THIRD LAYER: "It's so easy for her to make friends."
REAL PROBLEM: "I want to get better at making friends."
3. Assists the child in solving her own problem. Once the "real problem" has been identified, most children as well as adults, have within themselves the solution that is best for them. Solving their own problems increases creativity, self-confidence and problem solving abilities.*
*Excerpt from Dr. Thomas Gordon's P.E.T. Participant Workbook