Picture yourself in an IEP meeting or conference with a teacher. The conversation turns to a difficult topic concerning your child. You know you want to hear them out but you can feel your blood pressure starting to rise…. Raising kids with learning disabilities and/or attention challenges has its moments. Any parent knows this is true.
What do you do during these challenging moments to help yourself really hear what the person has to tell you? When the listening gets difficult, what do you do to stay connected? You will always be able to determine the value of what they have to say later, but not if you don't hear it now!
Here are four tips to use when the listening gets difficult. With practice, these will allow you to listen deeply despite the frustration you might be experiencing:
Listen Non-Judgmentally: Assume the information you are listening to is just one person’s opinion. That opinion matters but it isn’t the end all and be all. Learn to look for the grain of truth in every encounter.
Ask for Honesty and Truthfulness: To find clarity about what is being said, ask for truth and honesty – not just nice talk. Nice doesn’t always bring clarity. Nice tries to mollify. If you have a challenging situation, getting to the heart of the issue is more important than cloaking the truth in “nice”.
Focus on the Future: When faced with a challenge, it is easy to get bogged down in the details of the past or present. This usually doesn’t help after the basic level of understanding is achieved. Knowing where to direct your energy to make changes is critical. Ask future oriented questions to help determine your next steps.
Write Down and Confirm Key Points: When encountering difficult information the emotional component hampers us from remembering what we heard. Confirm what you heard as wrap up for your meeting. Write it all down for reference. Keep all your child’s information in one folder or notebook for easy access.
Using these tips your conversation will be better focused and you will better understand and remember what is said. This makes reengaging easier. Challenges often aren’t solved in one meeting. Solutions are built over time with cooperation and collaboration. As a parent, using these tips will help you connect in the best way possible ensuring solid solutions for all.
Parents, do you have questions about your child with learning issues? You can raise confident capable kids despite learning issues. Reach out for answers to your most perplexing questions!