Google+ Authentic Parenting: My Child Doesn't Listen - 6 Mistakes You Might be Making and How to Change Them

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

My Child Doesn't Listen - 6 Mistakes You Might be Making and How to Change Them

It's extremely frustrating when our children don't listen to us. After countless repetition, we are at our wit's end, specifically if this is a recurrent phenomenon. What is left to do for a gentle parent.
But sometimes, it is our initial try that doesn't arrive, somehow it is lost in the noise. And luckily, there are ways to change our communication to become more effective.

1. Lack of Connection

Are you speaking from a place of connection? Children who are at a disconnect do not hear (or want to hear) what you are saying. It's not a conscious process, therefor they are not to blame. It is just nature's way of protecting oneself. If the child feels threatened or lacks attachment with the speaker, she will not respond.

What can we do? Establish connection before making requests. Go to your child for a hug, a cuddle, some kind words. If you feel like the love is flowing, only then make the request.

2. Nagging

We tend to nag when our kids aren't listening. Instead of changing strategies, we become like the broken record, constantly repeating our prior message. Yet the fact that you are repeating makes your message lose it's power. And if alongside this you're taking a nagging tone, you can be sure that your child won't listen.

What can we do? Don't repeat the exact same message. If your child didn't listen the first time, try one of the strategies in this article or change your message.

3. Out of sight...

Is your child looking at you? Are you looking your child in the eyes. Often, we throw suggestions at our kids while sitting at the opposite side of the room and then wonder why they don't listen. Chances are: they didn't hear, because their focus was elsewhere. 

What can we do? Go over to your child, touch them, and look them in the eye when you speak. This way, at least you are sure that they heard the message. If the still don't respond, check if the other points in this post might be going awry.

4. A stream of words

It is pertinent when speaking to children to make your requests short and to the point. A long tirade of why you want something done, the sociological and ethical value of the action and the historical viewpoint are wasted on the young. Somewhere along the first sentence, you have lost your child and the message to the wind. 

5. Yelling

Every message that has to be screamed has no use being communicated. If you feel the need to raise your voice, something is definitely wrong. While some children may respond to yelling, out of sheer fear, most turn a deaf ear to your quails. 

What can we do? If you feel like yelling, take some time to relax before attempting communication again. Try reaching a point of connectedness before you speak again. Find more tips about dealing with yelling in this post. 

6. Intent

When talking to kids, it's important to first sense what we are communicating non-verbally. If we start from a place where we think our child won't listen anyway, we are, non-verbally telling our kids that the message is not worth listening to, we are subconsciously giving them permission not to act on our request. 

What can we do? Manage your intent and start your message from a position of positivity. If you communicate with enthusiasm, you will have a more captive audience.

With these tips, communicating with your child will become easier, more effective and joyful.

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  1. My 3 year old son is in a very challenging phase right now. I will keep some of these suggestions in mind. Thanks.

    1. Jennifer it's good to know I'm not the only one. My 3 year old is pushing limits too.
      Thank you for this article, I will put these to use.

    2. Remember, it's a child's job to push limits. They do this even more when they know they are safe. Good for you creating a space where your 3-year-old can test the edges. After all, we don't want them to be EXACTLY like us, right? How boring would that be?

    3. Very true, Michael. Some limit pushing is normal and indeed even desired. However, a consistent refusal to listen to request can mean something is fundamentally off...
      Ultimately it's the parent who knows his child best and know intuitively when there's reason for alarm

      Thanks all of you for your comments

  2. Great pearls of wisdom...thank you!!

  3. Very informative and coincidentally very useful to me at this point!

  4. And when none of this works then what ????

    1. If you're stuck in a negative communication pattern, it can take a while before the connection is reestablished. A lot of love, trust and patience should do the trick.
      You might want to read 'How to talk to Kids so they will listen - and listen so they will talk'


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