The good news is that your Active Listening does not need to be perfect to work; however, you can make refinements and increase your success by understanding and avoiding these common Active Listening mistakes.
These are the eight most typical mistakes; notice that each error has a counterpart error in the opposite direction.
Here are the definitions and examples of the common mistakes.
TEENAGER: "I can't believe my new teacher. What a jerk! What stupid, dumb rules he has."
Intensifying the feelings being expressed.
"You really hate that teacher's guts."
Generalizing or expanding the scope of what the child is expressing.
"You feel he's a lousy teacher."
Anticipating the child's next thoughts.
"And so you're probably wishing they'd fire him."
Interpreting underlying motives; "psychoanalyzing" the child.
"Maybe you're upset because you're under so much pressure getting ready for finals."
Reducing the intensity of the child's feelings.
"You're a bit bothered by your new teacher."
Reducing or skipping the pertinent facts expressed by the child.
"You're pretty upset today."
Not keeping up with the child's communication or continuing when the child is finished talking.
"You were saying a couple of minutes ago that..."
A near word-for-word repetition of the child's communication.
"You just can't believe your new teacher. You think he's a jerk, and is rules are stupid."*
*Excerpt from Dr. Thomas Gordon's P.E.T. Participant Workbook