POSITIVE PARENTING: Listening to Your Child, Your Partner, and Yourself

By , January 4, 2008 6:40 pm

Listening To Your Child: Developing An Inner Guide, Not Only Outer Authority

Authoritarian child rearing was effective in producing the assembly-line workers needed by an industrializing society. Times have changed. Now businesses want to hire flexible, creative, self-directing team players.

Families have also changed. Large farming families needed military-style discipline to keep everyone in line. In today’s one or two-child families, parents can give attention to the unique personality of each child.

As we struggle for equality between men and women in relationships, we also look for ways in which children can be treated as persons with dignity and rights.

In the 1950s, psychologist Carl Rogers took a stand against the authoritarianism inherent in psychoanalytic and behavioral theories of psychotherapy and created “client-centered” psychotherapy. The therapist did not impose values or goals upon the client but acted only to facilitate the unfolding of each person’s unique way of being in the world. Rogers later called his movement the “person-centered” approach, and it spread to education, childrearing, and peer self-help.

Rogers created “empathic listening.” The therapist tried to hear the client as if standing in the client’s shoes. He or she would then try to reflect back the client’s own words such that the client could hear him or herself more clearly. The client continued clarifying and articulating his or her own vision until the words and images exactly fit inner experiencing. Just this — finding exactly the right words or images for unclear body sensings or intuitions — allowed the client to move forward, to become more clear about values, goals, and action steps.

Empathic listening became the basis of many self- help techniques, including the “active listening” of Thomas Gordon’s Parent Effectiveness Training, and Faber & Mazlish’s How To Talk So Kids Will Listen, How To Listen So Kids Will Talk.

Eugene Gendlin, a student of Rogers, discovered a further essential thing about human beings: they could only change, through therapy or through life experiences, if they were able to check with and refer to their present bodily “feel” of living in situations. He called this self- checking “Focusing” and developed self-help and therapeutic techniques for teaching people this self-healing capacity (Focusing, Bantam, 1981).

“Child-centered” or “positive” parenting applies Listening and Focusing skills to raising children such that they do not lose the capacity for self-checking — for articulating and being guided by their own unique vision and for taking responsibility for their own behavior. A three-prong approach is necessary: listening to your child, listening to your partner, and listening to your own Inner Child. Read more about Inner/Outer Parenting

See our Interest Area: Positive Parenting

Download Dr. McGuire’s article, “Don’t Fight ‘Em, Join ‘Em: Community-Wide Intervention for ADHD, School Failure, and Juvenile Delinquency” .

Spend some fun time taking some of the Personality Tests and discovering your “differing gifts,” your Temperaments, your varying Multiple Intelligences, your Shadow Side in the Enneagram.

Learn more about Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening and Experiential Focusing Therapy at Creative Edge Focusing’s website, filled with free downloads on creativity, spirituality, collaborative thinking, parenting, innovation in business, and many other aspects of application of Focusing and Listening skills at home, at work, in your community, and globally.

Download our Instant “Ahah!”s Mini-Manual (”Ajas” Instantaneos en espanol) for ten exercises bringing Listening and Focusing into your everyday life starting today.

Download our complete Intuitive Focusing Instructions to start practicing Relaxation, Getting a Felt Sense, and Intuitive Focusing today!

See actual demonstrations of Listening/Focusing in our Self-Help package, a manual in English or Spanish, four CDs of Focusing Instructions, and a DVD with four demonstrations of actual listening/focusing sessions — everything you need to start your own Listening/Focusing Partnership or Support Group or to incorporate these basic self-help skills into existing support groups.

In the side bar at Creative Edge Focusing, subscribe to our free e-newsletter for weekly reminders to practice Relaxation and Focusing exercises and join our free yahoo group, Creative Edge Practice, for ongoing demonstrations, practice, and support.

Find classes/workshops/phone coaching in our Listings section or Coaching/Classes/Consulting with Dr. McGuire

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)


The site of new insights and creative solutions is at the edge of what is already known. This edge, The Creative Edge, holds implicit within it all past and future knowing about the problem, more than could ever be put into words in a linear way

2 Responses to “POSITIVE PARENTING: Listening to Your Child, Your Partner, and Yourself”

  1. […] Authority Authoritarian child rearing was effective in producing the assembly-line workers needhttp://www.cefocusing.com/wordpress/?p=69Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing – Google Books Resultby Sheila L. Videbeck – 2005 – Medical – 561 […]

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