Passive Listening Is Easy And Very Effective!

Part One: For Kids. See Part Two Below For Adults.

Passive listening is listening to our kids without agreeing or disagreeing with them.  It doesn’t involve giving any feedback, offering our opinions or directions, or telling them what to do.  It does involve our being 100% present to each child we are listening to. 

Because of the level of acceptance it offers, one's self esteem is greatly improved.

The essence of this communication tool is acceptance.  By passively listening to our children, we are accepting them the way they are and the way they are not. 

We have such a tendency to want to fix things and to try to make them better.  We need to allow our children to have their own experiences (within reason) and to help foster their own growth, sense of independence and to boost their self esteem. 

This new tool may be hard to do at first, because of wanting to react to what the child is saying. You may have to bite your tongue at first.  The rewards will honor your patience. 

Example Of Passive Listening.

Tommy:  “ I got sent to the Principal’s Office today.”
Parent:  “Uh-huh”
Tommy:  Do you want to know what happened?
Parent: Sure
Tommy: I got mad at Patty and punched her in the arm and she started crying.
Parent: I see.
Tommy: Then she told the teacher who told me to see the Principal and tell him what I did.
Parent: Uh-huh.
Tommy: The Principal told me to not to do that again. You bet I won’t.  I was scared of seeing the Principal.

In the above example the parent is allowing her child to express and communicate the experience of going to see the Principal.  Tommy figured it out that it really isn’t worth it to repeat his behavior or it’s back to the Principal’s office and being scared. He is learning the consequences of his own actions and growing up a bit more too.

Same Example Without Using Passive Listening.

Tommy: “I got sent to the Principal’s Office today.
Parent.  “You what? What did you do?”
Tommy: I got mad at Patty and punched her in the arm and she started crying.
Parent: “ Why were you being a big bully” You know you’re not supposed to hit girls!! That’s it Mister, no supper for you tonight. Now up to your room.

Did anything get resolved with this last typical example? No.

Do you see the difference between the 2 examples?

In the first example the parent communicated total acceptance of her child.   This allowed her child to deal with the consequences of his actions.  It also allowed some growth of her child moving towards more independence.

In the same example without using this new communication tool the parent missed an opportunity to allow her child to think for himself and to grow a bit more. 

By reacting to what her child did at school, the parent in this case, actually stopped her child’s growth and also missed an opportunity to really listen to her son, fostering more mutual love and respect.

Part Two: For Adults.

Passive listening for adults is the same process as for the kids. By using this new communication tool with our partners or family and friends, we are accepting them as they are and in doing this, increasing their self esteem. 

We are also allowing more mutual love, trust and respect to grow.


Tom: I'm so tired right now. That was a long day at the office. I don't feel like going out to eat.

Samantha: Uh-huh

Tom: I know you wanted to go out for dinner. I guess I feel guilty too.

Samantha: I see.

Tom: How about we order in?

Samantha: Sure, that's a great idea. I just didn't feel like cooking.

Rather than react to her husband changing his mind and not wanting to go out to eat, Samantha used passive listening and low and behold another solution presented itself. A win win was created.

Passive listening is fairly easy to do, if we just bite our tongues and trust that things will work out for the better.  By passive listening to our kids, partners, family and friends, we are accepting them, really listening to them, helping them grow and be more independent.

This also allows mutual love, trust and respect to blossom. It also boosts self esteem.

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