Parents Corner

Listening Can Be Difficult For Kids



It seems like the kids don’t listen or do as they are asked.

Sometimes we as adults need to be clearer in our communication. Calm is also handy, as the calmer we are, the calmer our kids are.

Parenting Strategies That Tend Not To Work…

  • When we focus on telling our kids ‘don’t’, ‘stop’, ‘no’, ‘quit’, and ‘not’, sometimes they disregard the ‘don’t’ etc. Or, sometimes, the ‘don’t’ can be like a dare.
  • Telling the child what not to do, for example, ‘don’t jump on the lounge’, ‘don’t hit your brother’.
  • Yelling across the room.
  • Yelling, hitting, name calling, put-downs.
  • Asking a question if you want the child to do something, for example, ‘would you…?’, ‘can you…?’, ‘do you…?’, ‘will you…?’

Your Challenge

Use clear calm instructions to give kids instructions and encourage them to listen:

  • Say child’s name, get close, get eye contact, touch child gently;
  • Tell the child what to do OR
  • Tell the child what s/he is doing wrong and what to do instead.

REMEMBER to say ‘thanks for listening’ or ‘thanks for doing as I asked’.

If the child does not do as asked after two requests, issue a Consequence.

It is often a good idea to give the child a calming down skill in your Clear, Calm Instruction.

Example “you are shouting at me, (pause) take a deep breath and think about how you can speak to me in a calm way and with respect”. Wait calmly and quietly for the child’s response.

When the child has spoken with you calmly, say “thank you for being calm and respectful”.

Parents often say that this strategy is very simple but the hardest thing for them is to be calm. Your high emotional reaction is related to your values. Values are essential to guide your life, but are you going to coach/guide your child in values or force them down their throat? You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. To calm yourself take some deep breaths, and think of a happy memory (for example, a time when the child was cute or loving, etc).

The aim in any parenting strategy is to teach your child how to be better, and parents have to role model that.

Article Written + Submitted by

Narelle Smith | Family Practitioner




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