While we continue to see progress in the fight against the global pandemic, reports about the rise of new variants are beginning to make people feel uneasy once again. This can give rise to a new wave of anxiety, stress, and feelings of uncertainty that may not be sensed at first glance, but can be visible to those who have a strong connection towards the person who is burdened with these emotions. With some areas enforcing lockdown mandates, providing emotional support becomes crucial in preserving one's well-being. For families, positive parenting through listening and empathy can be a great solution to combat negativity.
As a parent, listening may not be enough. What you should be doing is active listening. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, active listening allows you to relay your interest on what your child has to say clearly and adequately. This manifests when you are able to give your full attention to your kid, make eye contact, go down on their level, and reflect or repeat back what they have just shared so you can clarify if you have a good handle of the situation that they're in.
On the other hand, the Harvard Graduate School of Education defines empathy as being "at the heart of what it means to be human". It's a foundation of moral etiquette, which aids in establishing good, loving, and successful relationships. Studies show that empathy can be a catalyst in eradicating various forms of cruelty such as bullying.
How can you use listening and empathy to lead your family out of the dark and into the light during these trying times? Here are some ways for you to ponder on:
- Talk kindly. When faced with tough issues, refrain from using hateful speech. Remember that whatever your kids hear from you can be emulated by them, so choose your words carefully especially when in the presence of children.
- Mind your delivery. You don't have to be the loudest voice in the room to be heard. Instead of shouting to prove a point, get people's attention by calling their name in a calm voice. This will help lower stress and anger levels.
- Reassure through praise. Being recognized for a good deed not only makes a child feel good, but also motivates them to continue demonstrating this good behavior in every opportunity they can find. It will also make them realize that they are seen and valued by the people who matter most to them.
- Customize routines. Talk to your kids and create a routine that will allow them to have fun without being too pressed for time and choices. You can put some structure to it, but make sure that it is flexible enough to give your children a sense of freedom as they take part in the activities.
- Together is always better. Do things as a family. They may miss their friends, classmates, and other acquaintances during this period of isolation, but they should know that they are never alone. Eat together, play together, and say your prayers together. Draw strength from your familial bonds and watch it get stronger by the day.