Back in the 70’s, I took a class called “Parent Effectiveness Training” (I think it may still be around) to try and help deal with raising 7 children, 5 of which were teenagers. The most effective and helpful thing I learned in this class was the art of “active listening”. It is simply a way of letting the person know that you are listening and understanding by repeating back to them what you thought you heard them say, without judgment, questioning or trying to solve the issue. It worked like a charm with kids! I still use that learning today.
Recently, I’ve also learned to not think about what my response will be, while someone is talking to me. I had a very bad habit of doing that, and finally learned that my response is just not as important as what they are trying to say to me. I’m more able to understand others by listening fully before I even think about responding. I think we are all guilty of focusing on our responses, rather than focusing about what’s being said.