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10 Biggest Listening Mistakes by Parents with 35 Simple Solutions

By Jean Tracy, MSS

If your child refuses to listen, and you're concerned about his future, stop worrying. Read on to find the 10 worst parenting mistakes and 35 easy ways to communicate better with your youngster. Practice the ones that will help you the most.

Parents love their children more than anything. But busyness can make love hard to show. Life is filled with so much to do, so many demands, and tons of distractions. Listening to her takes too much time. Yet listening is the magic key to each child's heart.

10 Listening Mistakes with Messages to Kids:

The messages kids receive depend on the child and her experiences. Here are some possible messages no parent would intentionally send.


1. Being Too Busy Too Often

Message: My activities are more important than listening to you.


2. Checking Each Cell Phone Chirp

Message: I'd rather find out who's texting me.


3. Rushing from One Thing to Another Frequently

Message: I don't have time for you.


4. Being Sarcastic

Message: Your concerns are silly.


5. Looking at Distractions and Not at Your Child

Message: I'm more interested in other things.


6. Interrupting the Conversation

Message: My ideas are better than waiting for yours.


7. Jumping to Conclusions

Message: I already know what you're thinking.


8. Fidgeting

Message: Hurry up! I've got other things to do.


9. Thinking How to Reply Instead of Listening

Message: Figuring out my responses is more important than hearing what you're saying.


10. Showing Impatience

Message: Go away! You're irritating me.


Can you see how not listening turns children off? It tells them they're not important. They feel hurt. Over time, they may choose to keep their thoughts private. When parents want to know what's going on, they might say, "Nothing." Then how can parents guide their children?

When parents don't listen to kids, kids won't listen to parents. Everybody loses.

Let's all ask ourselves, "Is a cell phone, a TV, or rushing around more important than my child?" If the answer is "No," here are some easy parenting solutions.

10 Easy Listening Skills for Parents

We are the most important people in our children's lives. When we listen attentively, we are giving them respect and genuine love. It tells them they are important to us. If you practice the skills below, they will feel loved.


1. Deal with lack of time by saying, "Give me 5 minutes. Then let's talk."
2. Listen with direct eye contact, a caring smile, and both ears.
3. Be patient. Give her time to form her thoughts.
4. Ask questions to be sure you understand him.
5. Recap her ideas in your own words. Ask if you're correct.
6. Encourage him to keep sharing by saying, "Tell me more."
7. Reflect her feelings, "It sounds like you're (upset, pleased, confused)".
8. Avoid interrupting or jumping to conclusions. Listen to the end.
9. Step in his shoes. Try to feel what he's feeling.
10.Share your thoughts only after she's finished telling you hers.


Caring parents who listen well help children feel heard, valued, and loved. Listening is the foundation and the guiding connection for influencing their characters. Listening makes parents feel good too.

10 Listening Reminders with Rhyming Solutions

Rhymes, mottoes, or slogans can become powerful reminders. If we say them often they become a part of us and influence our actions. Here are 10 listening rhymes. Pick out the one that's most helpful to you and say it often. Better yet, make up one of your own.


1. When I'm patient and kind, my child can unwind.
2. To ease my kid's fears, I hear with both ears.
3. I give full attention to soothe my kid's tension.
4. My child gives me pleasure with thoughts that I treasure.
5. By listening with care, I help my kids share.
6. To be attentive and wise, I look with both eyes.
7. I listen with style and show love with a smile.
8. To love and connect, I hear with respect.
9. My listening's an art with love in my heart.
10. To value his views, I step in his shoes.


When you've chosen a rhyme or created your own, post it in several places to:


1. See it.
2. Say it.
3. Sense it.


Then act on it. You'll be glad you did and so will your child.

Practice Listening with 15 Conversation Starters

Whether you're eating dinner, driving somewhere, or enjoying a bedtime chat, here are 15 questions to ask your family. Cut them out and put them in a handy little box. Use them to start fun family discussions.


1. Name 3 reasons for telling the truth.
2. Do you think all people are important? Why?
3. How do you feel when you help others? Why?
4. Is there anything good about failure? Why or why not?
5. What stops you from giving up?
6. What does being organized feel like?
7. What would you rather receive, a criticism or a compliment? Why?
8. What motivates you to do your best?
9. If kids won't do their chores, should parents give them an allowance? Why?
10. What should parents do when kids fight?
11. How do you feel when someone blames you for things you didn't do? Why?
12. What makes a happy family?
13. How do you get yourself out of a bad mood?
14. What makes a good leader?
15. What do you think about God and an afterlife? Why?


Dinners, bedtime, and cars are great places to have conversations with your kids. Remember, these are just conversation starters. So, don't rush from one conversation to another. One conversation starter per discussion is best.

Conclusion for Helping Parents to Listen:

Listening is the magic key to your child's heart. It gives your youngster the 3 things he craves: attention, appreciation for his ideas, and approval. They prove to him he's important to you.

If you find that one or more of the 10 mistakes is hurting your connection, practice the solutions that will help you the most. And one more thing, if you're having fun, you're doing it right!

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Jean invites you to view Top 10 Listening Tips for Busy Parents to increase love within your family.

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