"Active Listening" has been taught countless times in school, used countless times with my clients but almost never used at all at home. No wonder people say, if you're counsellor, you could never counsel your own family, or if you're a piano teacher, you could never teach piano to your children.
Lately, after a very timely reminder by one of my friends, I revisited the 3 very simple, often taken for granted points of "Active Listening", because I was having some challenges communicating with my 2-year old toddler. As parents, we often just want to get things settled in a 'chop chop' (quick) manner. After some experimentation, I realised there are 2 ways to this: either spend some time and effort in practising active listening and avoid a melt down, or trigger a melt down and then spend some time and effort in managing recovery work. In both ways, time and effort are needed, just that the outcomes are very different.
So I try my very best, to look her in the eye, face to face, going down to her level if needed, and then:
1. Start my sentence with "I"
2. Reflect her feeling
3. Paraphrase what she is saying
'Of course it's not a foolproof method but it has saved us some tears and screams along the way. More wins than losses :)