How to Get Your Child to Listen
**The Edvocate is pleased to publish guest posts as way to fuel important conversations surrounding a P-20 education in America. The opinions contained within guest posts are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of The Edvocate or Dr. Matthew Lynch.**
By JaVohn Perry
As parents we often ask ourselves, “Why isn’t my child listening to me?” We seem to have the assumption that just because we say something, our child should automatically obey. Wouldn’t that be nice? Well it seldom works out that way. In fact, it is frequently the total opposite. We sometimes find that when we tell our child to do something, they don’t do it. Or, when we ask our child not to do a particular thing, they do it anyway. Why is this? Well this happens for a number of reasons including rebellion, misunderstandings, and sometimes our children are just testing us. Whatever the cause may be, there are ways to increase the chances of our children listening to us.
Talk to your kids, not AT them. As parents, we should talk to our children instead of talking at them. Lectures can sometimes be discouraging and one sided. A better option would be having conversations with our children. Try talking to your child about what is expected of them. Let them know what type of behavior is acceptable and what consequences they may encounter if rules are not followed. Encourage your child to engage in the conversation by asking questions. It is also important to let your child speak as well.
Leave out the judgement. It also helps to be non-judgmental when talking with your child. Judging actually does more harm than good because it causes a feeling of shame, which sometimes leads to rebellion. There is a way to tell your child what is acceptable behavior without judging them. By setting the ground rules and making them aware of expectations, you are putting a foundation in place.
Be proactive. Another good idea is to discuss issues with your child before they come up. Talk to your child about listening at a time when everything is calm and there is no issue. Children are more likely to listen and actually remember when issues are discussed while they are in a calm mood. While you and your child are just sitting around or having fun, it would be a nice time to tell them how good it feels when they listen to you. You should also ask them how it feels when people listen to them.
Set a good example. Always try your best to be a good example to your child. It is important for you to listen to your child when he or she is trying to relay a message to you. This can be a verbal message or one shown through behavior. Tell them what you are getting out of the message so that they will know for sure that you understand and that you were really listening. If you pay attention to your child, they are more likely to listen to you.
Follow through. Another very important thing we must do as parents is follow through. If you have established consequences and they are clear to your child, it is important to actually do what you say you will do. Children are very smart and they know when they can get away with things. If there is no follow through, it sends the message that they don’t have to listen because there won’t be a consequence. It also shows inconsistency between your words and actions.
In conclusion, we need to remember that each individual child is different. It is important that we know our child so we know what type of technique works for him or her. This is why we have to try to strengthen the bonds with our children. Having a close relationship with your child is very important. Children with distant relationships with their parents are less likely to listen to them. Children need to know that we care and that they are being heard. Once we start listening to our children, we are one step closer to them listening to us.
JaVohn Perry is a devoted mother of three, Early Childhood Educator, Freelance Writer and Business Owner. As a writer, she holds many titles including Seattle Childhood Education Examiner for Examiner.com. With writing and working with children being her two passions, she makes it her duty to utilize her skills in those areas.