If you notice a certain look in some children’s eyes that says they are not listening, it might be that they are simply lacking the ability to sequence your conversation and it might be time for some assessment of their listening ability. For example, one well-known assessment used to define the strengths and weaknesses of a child’s auditory listening assesses the child’s auditory skills necessary for the development, use, and understanding of language commonly utilized in academic and everyday activities. Again understanding the listening or auditory skills can raise the bar of parent and/or teacher to child communication.
We often expect children to listen to us regardless of our purpose or subject matter discussed. However, there may be other factors that can affect children’s ability to listen. There is the decibel level of a parent yelling in frustration or even the time factor. According to some experts, after the first few minutes of a lecture, the child’s listening ability goes way down. Also, research has shown that children tend to remember the beginning and the end of a lecture but not the middle. In addition, there are the experts’ slant, such as making eye contact, speaking to the child and not down or taking the child’s perspective and so forth. Lastly, the list of books as to why and how children do not listen to their parents and teachers could fill a library. However, suppose listening is not just connected to disrespect, yelling, duration of time, or beginnings, middles and ends. Suppose some children’s brains are simply not set up to listen or to sequence conversations, as we would expect. In other words, suppose listening strengths and weaknesses might be the result of the child’s preferred intelligence or learning style as proposed by some theorists. In other words, before parents become frustrated with the child’s listening inabilities they need to take note why some children are better at listening and others are not. For example, some researchers believe that those children exhibiting strengths in linguistic intelligence are children who relish the use of words and who should be gifted in their ability to listen, recite and remember what was said to them without too much trouble. Or children with a verbal learning style are equally gifted in their ability to listen as well. On the other hand, there are those children who exhibit other types of intelligence that could be prone to weaknesses in their listening skills. In other words, their inability to listen is not the result of disrespect or inattention but only how their brains are wired. As a result, the child dominant in spatial intelligence or a global learning style are often children who are highly visual and who see pictures rather than words or wholes rather than parts. Such children often have difficulty sequencing or following a conversation or words in a series.
Therefore, before you become so frustrated with the child’s listening inabilities, you might want to think about listening strategies and assessments. It could save you and the child hours of frustration and relationship building and even increased learning and intelligence. Good luck!