In my previous post…Bullying & Beyond…2.Really Listen!…I wrote about the importance of Listening. When somebody, be it a child or an adult, is distressed as a result of bullying, just having somebody who is willing to listen to them can make a huge difference to how they feel. Your first reaction may be to rush in and immediately solve everything but instead be patient and listen.
Here are some simple tips I found helpful,
1.Acknowledge your child’s emotional state -say that you can see how upset, angry etc., they are.
2.Remove or resist any distractions.
3.Make sure you can clearly hear what your child is saying.
4. Focus your attention and concentrate.
5. Be patient, listen to the whole story.
6. Make encouraging, agreeable sounds to show you are paying attention…’mmm,’ ‘I see,’ ‘oh right’.
7. Avoid making judgements – take time to consider before offering solutions.
8. Ask questions to clarify.
9. Keep an open mind.
10. Summarise or sum up what you heard, ‘so the main problem was’ or ‘if I understand properly you feel…’to let them know you understand exactly.
Remember to pay attention to their tone of voice and observe their body language, which can give you insights or hidden messages which they may not be able to voice.
If you agree on any particular course of action or efforts to address the issue, be sure and follow through. Listening needs to be followed up with evidence of action, even if it’s only arranging follow-up conversations. If you fail to follow-through, your child may get the impression that what they have confided just goes in one ear and out the other.
For any victim of bullying, building and maintaining trust is so important and this can’t happen unless you stick to your word.
I hope you find this helpful. Please feel free to share any experience you have had which would have benefitted from active and effective listening.
Alternatively please share some effective approaches you have used. I would love to learn what worked for you.