Communication Tip: #2: Reflecting

 Parents can use reflecting to help their child feel understood and heard.

Coaches use this skill to insure we have heard correctly and accurately without judging. 

What is reflecting?

Reflecting back allows a listener to tell a speaker what they heard the speaker saying. It then gives the Listener the opportunity to confirm what they heard is what the speaker meant.

Confused??? Don't be... just breath and know you are taking a step in being a better listener for your child by making sure you are hearing what they mean to say.

It is not being a parrot and just repeating back things that are said.

This skill is used to gain clarity and make sure everyone is on the same page. Focus on your child as they are explaining or answering a question. Then you tell them what you heard in a non-judgemental neutral tone.

Steps for Reflecting

1) Clear your mind and take a deep breath. Take a minute to tune in to your child.

2) Listen carefully to the words your child uses and watch for any emotion in their tone.

3) Tell your child what you heard without judging using a neutral tone.

4) Ask your child if what you heard is what they meant. "Did I hear that right?" 

5) Remember this is about getting clarity and making sure you and your child are both talking about the same thing. 

It will be challenging at first

You will find it challenging at first. Especially seeing it laid out in steps... Don't worry about getting it perfect. It will come more naturally if you are focussed and as you get more practice.

And I can guarantee if you "get sidetracked" but have open  lines of communication your child will feel able to correct you and get you back on track.

Child :" I hate school. I have no friends and nobody likes me" Said with a sigh and heavy shoulders.
You: "You had a rough day, tell me about what happened"

It can be very helpful because we sometimes get an idea in our heads and think we know what the issue is when in reality your child needs you in a totally different capacity.

For Example

Child: "I was really angry with my friend today."
You: "Did you and your friend argue?"

Child: No, I said I was angry with my friend because they said something I did not like. We did not argue... I did not want to start a fight"
You: "Ahh, so how did you deal with your anger?"

See, If you had not stopped to check could have gone on thinking maybe some conflict resolution, perhaps the "friendship speech" but really your child wants to talk about the feeling of anger... and how he can deal with it.

Reflecting back will get easier as you use it. The good news is if you are tuned in and really listening you don't need to get it perfect. You and your child will find a communication style that works for you. These are just guidelines to help you get started.

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