Many parents may not be as good as a listener as they thought. Just because a parent nods their head occasionally and responds with regular sounds acknowledging their toddler, does not mean they are really listening. A toddler needs a parent’s full attention in order to feel as if they are being heard. In many cases, disruptive behavior or temper tantrums are caused by a toddler feeling, as though they are not heard or understood.
A parent needs to learn how to be an active listener in order to understand their toddler fully. This means a parent must devote their full attention to a toddler when he/she is talking or trying to convey a story about an event that happened in their day. It is important to listen without interrupting. It can be difficult for a parent with a full, extensive vocabulary to listen to a toddler struggle to find the right words. A parent may try and fill in the blanks for the child. Please do not do this. The toddler needs to express their opinions and feelings in their own words.
Once the toddler has relayed their tale, summarize what you heard. The child will be able to tell you if you heard correctly, or if you missed an important detail. Do not be surprised if this takes a couple of times. The child will feel better once they have gotten their message across. As an active listener, remember to keep your opinions to yourself. It is okay to ask questions about the toddler’s feelings about a certain situation, without interjecting your own opinion. You will be doing your toddler a big favor by simply listening without prejudice.
Do you want to learn exactly how to eliminate your child’s out-of-control and defiant behavior without using Punishments, Time-Outs, Behavioral Plans, or Rewards?