FIVE Down and Dirty Tips to Getting Our Kids to Listen to US!
Talk at their eye level, in a normal tone of voice, giving short and reasonable commands. Transform YELLING at kids to brush their teeth to going to the child, bending down, looking in their eye (without being pissed) and say, “Teeth”. I know, I know it feeeellllsssss longer to do this, but start tracking how many times you say, “Brush your teeth, how MANY times do I have to tell you.” and I bet this respectful communication SAVES you time in the long run.
Ditch, “I need you to . . . . “ and replace it with “Everyone may be quiet.” or “We’ll be on our way once seat belts are on.” or “ Quiet voices are required in the library.” — “I need you to . . . “ often INVITES a power struggle.
Say it once and make it so. Again, this takes action and effort on our part. I agree, in the short term this is a huge bummer. In the long term it saves our kids from being accidentally trained that we only mean business after several repeated requests and then the final yelling command.
Apologize first. When we want to change a bad habit - if we start with our part of the problem we often find kids are all ears. “I’m sorry I’ve been yelling and nagging at you to get out of bed, it must be awful to start the day with such negativity.” “I’m sorry, I’ve been inconsistent and a little crazy with the screen limits.” “I apologize, I’ve been treating you like a much younger child then you are, doing your laundry when you are 14 is disrespectful.” Do you feel your kids ears perking up already!
Listen. Ugh . . . it’s the most resisted parenting tool, listening! And yet, when we take the time to listen to our kids, and listen compassionately (but not permissively) we will find that they are more likely to listen to us in return.