Are you tired of the constant struggle to understand your parents?

Figuring out where your parents are coming from can be a challenging task riddled with frustration. A man (David from Schitt's Creek) with a disgusted and confused look asking

Luckily, reflective listening provides a way to better understanding!

What is reflective listening?

Reflective listening is a communication technique used to reduce conflict and boost understanding between people. It involves two steps:

  1. identifying the speaker's message

  2. reflecting this message back to the speaker

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How does reflective listening work?

Reflective listening can eliminate misunderstandings between you and your parents by:

  • giving you the opportunity to clarify what your parents are saying.

  • allowing your parents to check the accuracy of their statements and confirm or adjust your understanding of what they've said.

  • creating a structured environment to communicate in.

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Step 1. Identify the message

To practice this with your parents:

  • Listen to the entire message. Interrupting them can interfere with your understanding of the central message.

  • Observe non-verbal cues such as body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. These cues reveal your parent's feelings.

  • Analyze what they're trying to say by using what you heard (words) and what you saw (body language).

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Vince's mom is giving him a brief lecture on college life to prepare him for his freshman year. He's bored but determined to practicing reflective listening. Which of the following help Vince understand his mom's message? Select all that apply.

Step 2. Reflect the message back to them

Reflecting the message back to your parens shows them that you're making an effort to understand their point of view. To practice reflecting:

  • Communicate back to them the idea of what was said. Remember, reflective listening is about identifying the message of the speaker. Paraphrasing is acceptable but don't just repeat what the speaker has said word-for-word.


Vince's mom: "Vince, you know how worried I am about you being on your own next year. Things won't be like they are now. You won't have me to cook or clean up after you. College is different."

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Model reflection #1

Vince: "It sounds like you're really anxious about me leaving next year. "

Model reflection #2

Vince: "So you're worried about me being able to take care of myself? That's understandable."


Using the example above, which of the following responses are NOT examples of reflective listening? Select all that apply.

What happens next?

After you've identified the speaker's message and reflected it back to them, the speaker will confirm or correct your understanding of their message. And that's it! After they've confirmed or corrected your understanding, the cycle restarts (see Step 1).

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Take Action

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Remember that reflective listening takes practice. To develop this skill:


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