Nothing causes quite as much frustration for parents as the feeling that their kids aren’t listening to them. A simple request, like getting shoes on or closing a door, can lead to a frustrated outburst when it has to be repeated a dozen times.
Today, I’ve got some tips to encourage effective communication with your kids, and end those “talking to a wall” moments once and for all.Rather read than watch? Click here.
– Hi, I’m Dana. One of the biggest complaints that I hear from parents all around the globe is that their children won’t listen to them or that they have trouble getting their children to listen to them. So I wanna talk a little bit about that today and give you some tips and strategies for helping create more peace in the house and more calm around this very tricky issue.
Now, the first thing you wanna think about is what actually you mean when you say that, right? My kids won’t listen to me. It’s a little bit misleading because chances are they were listening to you. They just didn’t do what you wanted them to do. So that’s where it becomes a frustration point for parents is that they’re not jumping to action. That’s really what you’re saying when you say your children are not listening to you.
Okay, so the first thing you’re gonna wanna do is make sure that you’re present when you make a request. So I get it, you’re busy. You’re rushing around in the morning. You’re hollering from the kitchen, get your shoes on, everybody, right, but you’re not really there to give a direction in person. So maybe there’s a chance that they didn’t hear you, right? Maybe they were in such a far away room that they didn’t actually hear what you said. So there’s that possibility but also too there’s no need to respond because you’re not standing right in front of them.
So my advice is as hard as it is to do, stop what you’re doing, go into the room where the children are and then make your request. I always ask for validation from my children that they heard me, right, ’cause again I don’t wanna keep hollering and hollering and hollering the same set of instructions. I want confirmation that they actually heard me and that takes a little bit of prompting. So when they were little, I would make a request and they would look at me and I would say yes, mom and then they would repeat yes, mom or okay, mom, right, to let me know that they heard what I said. Now, they’re a little older, they don’t need that sort of same prompting but I always ask for confirmation. Now, I know they’ve heard me.
So then I move on to the next step which is action. Are they moving in the direction in which I want them to? And if they don’t then I very simply say that’s one. That is all I say. That’s one. So let’s say the example is I asked you to get your shoes on and the child just sits there and watches the television. That’s one, right? Now they know that that’s the warning. If I don’t actually get up now and go move in the direction of putting my shoes on, I’m going to get a time-out. If I have to go to two then that’s two, it’s a time-out, right? There has to be some sort of consequence otherwise you really will be asking and asking and asking and asking until your children respond and the trouble with that is that it usually leads to yelling, right? You know what I mean. You’re getting angrier. You’re getting more frustrated. They’re not doing what you want them to do. You’re asking, asking, it’s getting louder and louder every time you ask until you’re hollering and that’s not a fun way to start a day. It’s not a fun way to end a day. It’s not a fun way to exist as a parent.
The other problem with yelling is that it becomes, they become desensitized to it, right? I always think about that Charlie Brown’s teacher where she’s just going wah wah wah wah wah and that’s what it means to the kids. They’re not even hearing her. And so if you’re a chronic yeller then really what you’re doing is just desensitizing your children so that they don’t really even hear you anymore and you’ll find that you just actually have to keep yelling louder and louder in order to actually get them to jump to action and again, not a good way to live your life as a parent and there is some evidence that it does raise cortisol levels in children too. If they’re in a house where there’s lots of yelling going on, it does make them uncomfortable in the same way that anyone yelling at you would make you feel a little uncomfortable and a little bit stressed.
So really want you to try to minimize that and it helps by getting in front of the child, getting confirmation that they’ve heard you, giving one warning if they don’t respond and then giving a consequence as a time-out. Now, the more you do this, the better it’s going to go. So for example, now, I very rarely have to get to that’s one but certainly when they were little, yeah, it got to consequence. I gave you a chance, you didn’t do what I asked you to do and now there’ll be a consequence for it and that could be just a simple go sit in the time-out chair for two minutes or however long would be age appropriate for your child but that’s a great way to really teach your child that you do mean business. Now, one little bonus tip before I say goodbye, you have to follow through. You can’t say that’s one when really it’s five. It has to be one warning, consequence. One warning, consequence. Always the same, never different and then your children will learn that when you say one, you mean business and if they don’t respond, there will be a consequence.
Thanks so much for watching today. Sleep well.
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