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Author: Extension Child Development and Family Life Specialist, Department of Extension Family and Consumer Sciences, New Mexico State University. (Print Friendly PDF / Imprimir PDF amistoso)

Do you know that listening to your children is as important as talking to them? Every child has special feelings and emotions, joys and sadness, hopes and fears, questions and confusions. When you fully listen to your children, you will be able to help them understand and cope with these feelings, answer their questions, and reduce their confusion. Most importantly, you will be showing you care about and respect them. You will also learn to understand how your children think and learn.

Figure 1: Interaction with children.

Even young children use a kind of language. They will extend their arms when they want to be held, or turn their heads away when they are tired of watching something. Their different sounds and cries will let you know when they are happy, hungry, tired, sleepy, or wet. Listen and watch carefully so you can understand and respond to your child’s special language. When you truly listen to your child, you are showing him that what he has to say is important to you. In this way, you are helping to build his self-confidence and self-esteem.

Unfortunately, some parents feel that listening to their children is not important. These parents spend most of their time judging, advising, directing, and scolding, but not listening. In doing so, they deprive their children of some very special growth opportunities.

Listening may not be easy, especially for busy parents. It takes a little time, attention, and patience. It means not interrupting your child, jumping to conclusions, or giving instant advice. It may mean turning off the TV or radio and finding a quiet place to talk. But listening has special rewards. Not only will you get to know each other better, you may find that your child has also learned how to listen to you!

¿Sabía Ud. que el escuchar a su hijo es tan importante como hablarle? Cada criatura tiene sentimientos, emociones, alegrías, tristezas, esperanzas, temores, dudas y confusiones especiales. Al escuchar a su hijo, Ud. puede ayudarle a comprender y controlar estos sentimientos. Si lo escucha podrá aclarar sus dudas y disminuir su confusión, mostrarle su respeto y cariño y aprender a comprender cómo su hijo percibe la realidid.

Desde su más tierna edad los bebés tratan de comunicarse. Extienden los brazos cuando quieren que los alcen, vuelven la cabeza cuando se cansan de mirar algo, gritan y lloran cuando tienen hambre, estan cansados, mojados o felices. Escuche y observe bien a su hijo para captar bien su mensaje y responder eficazmente. Si Ud. escucha bien a su hijo, le demuestra que su mensaje es importante para Ud., y así le ayuda a adquirir confianza en sí mismo y autoestima.

Lamentablemente algunos padres creen que no es importante escuchar a sus hijos, que no aprenden nada escuchándolos y que los niños no aprenden nada hablando. Estos padres se pasan la mayor parte del tiempo juzgando, aconsejando, orientando y retando, pero no escuchando. Así privan a sus hijos de buenas oportunidades para aprender más.

El escuchar es un arte, y más para los padres ocupados. Lleva tiempo, attención y paciencia. Significa no interrumpir a la criatura, sacar conclusiones ni dar consejos antes de tiempo. También puede signifcar apagar la televisión o la radio y buscar un lugar tranquilo para conversar. Pero el escuchar atentamente tiene su recompensa especial para padres e hijos. No solo aprenderán a conocerse mejor, sino que sabrán escucharse con mutuo respeto.

Additonal Information/Informacion Adicional

Family Development publications produced by New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Service are all located at

Guide F-107: Helping Young Children Cope with Anger/Ayudándole a los niños pequeños a contolar el enojo

Guide F-108: Guiding Young Children/Guiando a los niños pequeños

Guide F-109: Toilet Training for Toddlers/Su bebé aprende a usar el baño

Guide F-110: Helping Children Go to Bed/Cuando los niños no quieren irse a la cama

Guide F-112: Temper Tantrums/Ataques de mal genio

Guide F-115: Showing Love to Your Child/Demuestre el cariño a su niño

Guide F-116: Listening is Important/Eschucha a su hijo

Guide F-120: Creating Strong Families

Guide F-122: Understanding Teens

Guide F-213: When the New Baby Arrives/Cuando llegue el nuevo bebé

Adapted from a publication of the Cooperative Extension Service, University of California, Berkeley.

Photo of  Diana Del Campo, Extension Child Development and Family Life Specialist

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Revised and electronicaly distributed February 2012, Las Cruces, NM.