More Effective Communication with Children -
Robert Elias Najemy
Now the child himself obviously has a problem which is not allowing him or her
to use his or her mental abilities to their full potential. The problem could
have to do with conflicts within the family, conflicts with other children or
with teachers at school, disappointments in love, lack of self-confidence,
lack of proper nutrition, a disillusionment with society and the school
system, as well as many other possibilities.
In such a case, the most effective method of communication is active
listening. Let us look again at some brief guidelines for active listening.
1) Let the other talk without interruption. Do not break his or her flow with
your need to project your own ideas. When we interrupt others, we cut off
their flow. This flow may bring to the surface the cause of the problem, which
they themselves have not yet discovered.
2) Look into the otheršs eyes and not away. Let your body be facing the person
and not sideways. Show interest in what the other is saying, and in this way
let him or her know that you are listening actively and carefully, and care
about what he or she is saying.
3) Do not, in any case, criticize or start giving advice. It is extremely
important not to criticize or disagree or reject during the active listening.
At the end of the discussion we may state how we feel. After the discussion is
completed, if we do not agree, we, of course, have the right to state so. But
during the active listening do not stop the otheršs flow with criticism or
4) Ask questions which help you to understand more clearly what the other is
feeling. These question will help both you and the other (in this case, the
child) to understand what the problem is. You can imagine that you are the
other. Imagine how he or she feels, and what is going on in his or her life
and you will be guided to the right questions to ask. Asking questions rather
than giving advice may be difficult for some of us in the beginning. It is not
easy, but those who have tried it have found it very effective and have been
surprised by the results.
In some cases where we might be performing this technique mechanically, the
others may be surprised and react negatively, especially if they have learned
to receive continual criticism. But if we persist to show interest, and stop
criticizing, at some point the child will open up. We must also be sensitive
about the correct time and place to approach the other. Also a child must
never be pushed against his will into discussing something which he or she
does not want to. Eventually the need to come close to us will help him or her
to open to us.
5) We may also affirm whether or not what we have understood from the otheršs
communication is correct. This technique is used by most psychologists to help
a person open up and get clarity about what he or she is feeling. We simply
repeat back to our children what they are telling us in our own words. This
helps us to verify that we have understood what they are saying, and helps
them to feel that we are accepting what they is saying. If they feel that we
have not understood, they will try to explain to us in a different way. This
will help all to become clearer about what is bothering each.
These techniques for effective communication can do much to bring harmony and
love to our relationships with our children. It is important that parents get
started with this system immediately. No child is too young to understand this
type of communication.
Because these techniques require a whole new way of thinking and
communicating, we suggest that parents and teachers or any individuals who
want to master them, seek out seminars which teach these methods with
Remember that the basis for all successful communication is love. Below you
will find various examples of effective communication for various situations
If we care for our bodies and minds,
they will care for us.
(Robert Elias Najemy's recently released book "The Psychology of Happiness"
(ISBN 0-9710116-0-5) is available at
His writings can be viewed at
http://www.HolisticHarmony.com where you can also download FREE
articles and e-books.)