Being able to respond and interact with the world from the heart is the fuel for a healthy life. A large part of this involves being aware of how we feel and how other people feel. Managing these feelings preserves relationships and fulfills needs. Learning towards adulthood begins in infancy And it lasts for decades. There is much to learn, and listening with empathy is a powerful way to build this emotional awareness in children, open them up to guidance, and grow their emotional intelligence.
Opportunities for empathetic listening come all the time, but they won’t always come easily. The human being is not so simple.Opportunities are usually hidden in great feelings such as tantrums, resistance, tears, frustration, anxiety, sadness, jealousy or confusion. Children need to learn the lessons of life from healthy adults who are able to thrive. As in much of life, the best way to learn is in the midst of emotional turmoil.
When your child is confused for whatever reason, you need to listen with empathy. The key lies in trying to understand what your child is experiencing. Experiences may not always make logical sense, but they need to be understood in order to move forward, knowing that their feelings are heard.
What is empathic listening
Listening with empathy implies being in tune with what the child feels. When you listen with empathy, the connection between you and your child will deepen, as will your self-awareness. This is not to say that you approve of the way your children express themselves-especially when they it’s a tantrum-. The idea is that when they feel closer to you and see that you have understood them, you have more capacity to guide them and listen to you.
The benefit is mutual. When children feel your love, your warmth and your understanding, the great negative feelings that exist within them will begin to subside. When this happens they will be open to your wisdom and your guidance, so that the learning of the lessons can be learned with an open heart to them.
Basic Principles for Empathetic Listening
Some basic principles are needed for empathic listening. The goal is to understand what children feel. Once the children feel heard and understood, there will be a path to follow towards dialogue and lessons learned.
- Take into account all the information they give you. Empathetic listening involves gathering all the information you need to tune into the experience with your child. Body language, gestures, and facial expressions are just as important as words.
- Respond to the feelings behind the words. It is very important to respond to the feelings behind the words. behind words, behind bad behavior there are always hidden emotions.
- Help them understand their emotions. It is not easy for children to understand their emotions, for this reason it is necessary to help them put words and names to what they feel so that they can understand why they feel that way.
- Understanding mixed emotions. A child can have mixed emotions and needs to manage them . For example, a child may be having an amazing vacation but one of his parents is not by her side, so he may be very excited but also sad. This will make him feel anxious or guilty, so he will need you to help him find his dominant emotion, feel and think, and reassure him that it is normal and good to feel different emotions at the same time. When given ‘permission’ to feel confusing sensations, they will be able to stop fighting them.