How can I get my kids to listen?
Are you struggling with getting your kids to listen to you? Are your children ignoring you? Do you feel frustrated trying to get through to them? Have you lost your authority as the parent?
Parenting has no specific guide that is effective for everyone. Life is full of challenges and surprises. Single parenting can double that responsibility and drain you of your confidence if you allow it. So, if you are feeling as though your children aren’t listening to anything you have to say, what can you do about it? Let me be the one to tell you, there is NO one answer to this question. Parenting begins from the day of conception. Mistakes are made by all parents. There is no right or wrong that applies to everyone. There are rules, laws and effective practices, but each situation, each child and every family are different. The age of your children and the patterns of behavior depend on multiple factors. One simple change can stir up a bee’s hive of problems. So what’s the answer?
Number 1 it begins with you, the parent listening to them.
What exactly are they telling you?
What aren’t they telling you?
How has communication been between you in the past?
Are listening, without any preconceived notions or opinions?
If you are in a place, situation or moment in your day when you aren’t able to listen, or your child is interrupting, then be clear, direct and concise by telling them “not at this moment”. When you are consistent and explain that not always is it an appropriate time, AND be sure to make time when it is appropriate you are teaching your child patience and that if they wait you will give them your undivided attention to listen.
If you aren’t listening to your kids, how can you expect them to listen to you?
In my book “Single Parents’ Secrets to Effective Communication” I suggest a specific time set aside each day to communicate by listening, showing respect, echoing back what you hear and discussing why the topic seems important in that moment.
In our busy lives, with schedules that don’t seem to allow routine for sitting down at dinner time we often lose the opportunity to listen to what is important daily. Giving one another respect and having an open mind available to hear exactly what each other has to say, without any criticism keeps the door open for honesty. When children know what they have to say will be taken seriously, no matter the topic, they are more apt to talk about their fears. When you judge or condemn what they have to tell you, slowly they stop talking to you. They begin seeking others who will listen, and their choice of peers is not always healthy.
So, in answer to the question “How do I get my kids to listen” my advice would be to listen to them. If they aren’t willing to talk right away, start spending more time together away from peers. Discover commonalities to which you can respect and appreciate one another as you are. As a parent, you are your child’s guide and you are their to support them in making good choices for their life. In essence you are the coach, which empowers and motivates them to learn how to think for them selves. Admit to your lack of knowledge and vulnerability and allow them to experience life, but at the same time stay safe.
Being a parent is the most rewarding job there is in life as far as I have experienced, but not the easiest. Love, appreciate and honor one another. Show respect and you will receive respect. Enjoy life and be safe. Trust your intuition. Get help and support for yourself.
Effective listening is allowing the other person space, with no criticism or interruption. Empower your children, no matter what their age and you will learn so much from them. Only answer what you have been asked, and keep it age appropriate. If you are unsure of what they are asking either ask them to clarify before you answer. Never condemn, make excuses, or judge. Be honest, but don’t divulge more than you feel necessary. don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”, but when you don’t know teach your children how they can discover the answer. Research with them on the topic. Clarify at the end of the conversation that you have answered the questions they needed answered. Enjoy the moments of conversation because you are empowering one another! Live with Joy, effectively communicating and raising your children with knowledge. Happy Parenting!