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Wendy Lewis-Cordwell
Wendy Lewis-Cordwell, Director of Bereavement Care Services - Cumbria and Lancashire, and the North West Bereavement Care Development Consultant for Child Bereavement UK. With 27 years experience in the NHS, and a trained facilitator for BSA 'When a Patient Dies', National Gold Standards Bereavement Care Training, Child Bereavement UK, Grief Journey UK, NCPC Associate and Bereavement Care Services, educating professionals in areas of loss and bereavement.
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Child mental health & wellbeing

Blocks to listening

If your child comes to you with a problem they want help with - it's very important to know how to listen. Some people are naturally good listeners. Some of us aren't so good. Most parents could do with some guidance on listening skills.
In Short
There are 12 common blocks to listening. It's hugely helpful for you as a parent to read these and try to identify the ones that apply to you - and then try, over time, to gently move away from that pattern of behaviour. As your listening skills improve, your child will be encouraged to talk to you more.

Blocks to Listening

There are 12 commonly known blocks to listening:

1. Comparing

Comparing makes it hard to listen because you are too busy trying to compare one person with another.

2. Mind Reading

Instead of paying attention to what is said, you try to figure out what the other person is really thinking and feeling in an effort to see through to the truth.

3. Rehearsing

You do not have time to listen or pay attention to listening when you are rehearsing what to say. Your whole attention is on the preparation and crafting of your next comment.

4. Filtering

When you filter, you listen to some things and not to others. You hear what you want to hear, and avoid what you don’t want to hear and let your mind wander.

5. Judging (prejudging)

If you prejudge someone or label someone negatively, you do not pay much attention to what they say.

6. Dreaming

You are half-listening, and something the person says suddenly triggers a chain of private associations. You are more prone to dreaming when you feel bored or anxious.

7. Identifying

You take everything a person tells you and refer it back to your own experience. Everything you hear reminds you of something that you have felt, done, or suffered. You launch into your story before they can finish theirs.

8. Advising

You are the great problem-solver, ready with help and suggestions. You do not have to hear more than a few sentences before you begin searching for the right advice.

9. Sparring

Your focus is on finding things to disagree with. The way to avoid sparring is to repeat back and acknowledge what you have heard. Look for one thing you might agree with.

One subtype of sparring is the put-down. You use sarcastic remarks to dismiss the other person’s point of view. A second type of sparring is discounting. Discounting is for people who cannot stand compliments.

10. Being Right

You will go to any lengths to avoid being wrong. You cannot listen to criticism, you cannot be corrected, and you cannot take suggestions to change.

11. Derailing

You change the subject suddenly. You derail the train of conversation when you get bored or uncomfortable with a topic.

12. Placating

You want to be nice, pleasant, and supportive. You want people to like you – so you agree with everything. You half-listen, but you are not really involved.

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This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Essential Parent has used all reasonable care in compiling the information from leading experts and institutions but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details click here.