Magical Listening

The Mundane to Magical card this week is Magical Listening.
Magical Listening will create the ears to hear what is said as well as what is not. The willingness to stop and reflect what we are hearing will transform the way we listen. Listen fully with an open heart and mind when someone else is speaking, letting go of all personal judgements and thoughts to fully hear all they are saying.

When our child is upset, we want to join with them and offer our acknowledgment of their feelings. They want to be heard, just as we do when we are upset. Logic and reasoning will never work when a child is upset. Showing empathy, or acknowledgment that you understand how they feel, will help the child feel you are making the effort to connect with them.

When we practice magical listening we are trying to put into words what our child is feeling. Acknowledging and naming the emotion helps calm the child’s strong emotions. Most of time we just try to fix the problem, rather than naming the emotion. Magical listening helps us name the emotion and acknowledge the feelings, creating connection. Then if they are calm enough a conversation can occur, but this might have to come later. There is no reason to rush the problem solving. Connection will always help calm and give children confidence. The problem solving will come but connect first!

There are two parts to Magical listening:
The magical listening phase
1. Start with an opener: “You seem…” “It sounds like…”
Add a feeling word: “angry..” “frustrated…” “bitter…”
2. The problem solving steps
Identify the problem: Find out what happened to create the feelings (children over 2 can start doing this)
“Can you tell me what happened?”
Repeat or “mirror” back what was said to make sure it is understood.
“You are crying because you can’t find your favorite toy?”
Brainstorm about possible solutions WITH your child
“Can you play with something else?”
“Do you remember where you saw it last?”
“May I help you look for it?” (I always sing a song about the fairies and gnomes helping us find lost things)
Decide with child what solution would work
“It sounds like you really want to play with your toy and need help looking for it.”
Check back with child to see if solution worked and how they are feeling

When a child is too young to have a conversation. Offer to name some feelings that way your child under 2 can learn the names to the feelings they are experiencing.

Sometimes their just isn’t a solution to the feeling at hand. Let the child be in that feeling, fully experiencing and just offer to connect with them.

Let them feel their emotions for as long as they need to. Once the emotion has ran its course they will move on naturally. We do not need to distract, cheer up or try to make it better. Our body will release the emotions on its own in its own time. When we try to move them out too fast they can get stored in our body!

All feelings are acceptable. This doesn’t mean that children can act on all their feelings, but they have the right to feel the emotion.

This technique helps a child open up. Simply “mirror” back to a child what she said in a questioning tone of voice.
Child: “I don’t want to go to their house again.”
Adult: “You don’t want to go their house again?”
Child: “NO, they were not kind to me when we were playing outside!”
Once you have an idea of the problem, magical listening can continue with the acknowledgment of their emotions, and then to problem solving.

Magical Listening Process:
1. Listen
Stop what you are doing
Get down on your child’s level
2. Hear the feeling
Listen to your child’s words
Ask yourself, “What is my child’s feeling?”
Think of word that describes the feeling
3. Say what you have heard
Think of yourself as a mirror that shows your child’s feelings
Think about why they may be feeling this way
Put your thoughts in a sentence using “You feel” and “Because”
“You feel angry because you have to go to bed.”
“You feel frustrated because you can’t go see your grandma.”
Avoid using responses that don’t offer acknowledgement and connection.
“Don’t speak to me like that.”

When we use magical listening with our children, we will naturally begin to use it in our own lives, often healing years of ignored feelings and emotions. Finally able to release emotions and our own traumas of not being heard.

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