Posts Tagged ‘how to get my kids to listen the first time’

3- Step “Super Secret” Formula to finally get your kids (and spouse) to listen

November 1st, 2011

Does your child have trouble listening to you? Are you feeling like a broken record, asking again and again for what you want, and feeling like you are being totally ignored? If you’ve asked for what you wanted and everyone in your household seems to ignore your request you’ll likely get to a point where you begin to wonder, “why isn’t this working, why aren’t they listening?”

You may begin to get to a boiling point, get mad, throw a fit,  threaten, just give in and take care of it yourself, or complain about all that you do for everyone in the house. What you’ll likely find is that when you reach your boiling point and react (or just take care of it yourself while silently resenting your family members), others may for a short period of time take notice.  Heck, you may even get your teen (or husband) to listen and pick-up their underwear off of the bedroom floor if you yell loudly enough, AND….

…you may be creating a pattern of negative behaviors to get your needs met. So your children and spouse continue to ignore your requests and pleas until you blow your top, then all of sudden they are listening,  responding quickly and wondering, “What’s up with mom ?”

We know that children model their parent’s behaviors, so the last thing you want to teach your child is that ignoring and then overreaching is a healthy way to communicate. The best way to teach your child to listen, respect your requests, and to communicate in healthy way is to learn how to communicate your wants and needs in a healthy manner first.

You can use creativity to get back into you parenting authority, and here’s a way you can do so. Create an image of something (or someone) that represent being empowered, strong, assertive, and clear. Take a minute to see what pops up for you. Now embody this! Wear it like a cloak and ground yourself in this image. When your child or spouse wants to “hook you into an argument” or they are ignoring your requests, connect with this empowering image before you respond. You’ll respond from a centered more calm place; then you can use the 3- Step “Super Secret” Formula to ask for what you need! You can take this exercise even further and create an image of this and put it in a place where you’ll see it often as visual reminder of being in your parenting power.

Drum roll please….I’m going to share with you my 3- Step “Super Secret” Formula to finally get your kids (and spouse) to listen.

  1. Validate your child’s feelings
  2. Use the assertive triangle to state how you feel and what you need. I teach that technique in the free audio-telesemiar  Secrets Your Kids Really Don’t Want You to Know: A Child Art Therapist Tells All (*except for the confidential stuff) and you can access in the box above.
  3. Be clear of consequences and follow-through

Here’s how it might sound. You come in to your teen’s room and it is a mess and you’ve ask them to clean it and they are on Facebook with their friends.

“I understand that Facebook and connecting with your friends is important to you and it’s upsetting to get off the computer when you want to be on it. When I walk into your room and it’s messy and I asked you to clean it I feel upset and disrespected. Please pick-up all the clothes off of the floor and put them in the hamper and remove the dishes from your room by 9:00 pm tonight. If you choose not to then you will not be able to use the computer tomorrow.”

DONE! This is no need to lecture, no need to yell, not need to threaten, you have clearly asserted you needs, set reasonable expectations and consequences and given your child a choice. So there is no need to go on and on and lecture them (doing so you’ll lose your parenting authority).

This must be done in a neutral tone being in your parenting authority, so your child does not hook you and get you to react! Embody that image you created and operate from this calm- empowered place and you’ll be modeling for your children and spouse how to listen respectfully.

Have you tried different ways to communicate, but your child or spouse is still not listening?  We can help!

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“You can’t make me”: Secrets to getting your child to listen to you

June 30th, 2011

If you are a parent (or a stepparent) you have likely heard these words, “You can’t make me” and your heart sinks because these words cut to the core, and leave you gasping for a sane response. So before you quickly jump to a response and potentially say something you may regret later, take a minute to compose yourself. These 5 secrets will help you respond calmly when you hear the words, “You can’t make me.”

1.  Breathe- Take a minute and breathe before you respond. Yes, you’ve heard this one before, but do you know why you should breathe before you respond?  Children pick-up on your emotional state and mirror it via the phenomena of mirror neurons, meaning if they are agitated then you are likely to mirror their emotional response, which only amplifies their negative behavioral response and escalates a power struggle. Research suggests taking a deep breath allows you to increase the flow of oxygen to your brain, whereby you’ll approach the situation from a calm and rational place, rather than reactive response. Take a breath, before you respond and you’ll be much more calm and rational.

2.  Diffuse the argument- These three words will immediately diffuse any disagreement, “You are right.” Now here’s what most parents and stepparents struggle with, they want to be right. Let’s admit it, we all desire to be “right”, and often this desire to be “right” is what provokes and sustains arguments. When you let your child know they are right this removes the power struggle from the conversation and more than likely your child will have a slightly shocked and perhaps even smug look on their face when you concede that you cannot make them do anything.

3.  Communicate-Have a communication game plan in place with your spouse so you know exactly how you will handle problems when they arise, so you’re not stuck making up reactive rules in response to your child’s or stepchild’s behaviors. Take some time with your spouse and talk about how you will respond when a child in the household misbehaves. Come up with a clear consistent plan, such as telling the child know that there will be a consequence for their behaviors if they do not listen. You may even want to have a list of agreed upon consequences that you develop with your spouse prior to any argument. This way you can calmly share what the consequence will be if the child does not do what is requested.

4.  Stop splitting- Create a clear and consistent plan on following through with consequences. When you let your child or stepchild calmly know that they are right, and you can’t make them doing anything, however if they do not do what is requested there will be a consequence your child may go running to your spouse to get their way. Some of the tactics children will use are whining, pouting, begging, demanding, or guilting to get their way. You need to send a clear message to your child that you and your spouse are on the same parenting page and you both are in agreement of how the situation will be handled. If your child comes to you complaining about your spouse validate that they may be upset, and then let them know you will speak with your spouse before you make a decision together.

5.  Follow-through- Consequences that are relevant and meaningful to your child will help them make corrections to their behaviors, and this only works if you are consistent and follow through. As a child therapist I hear children tell me all the different ways their parents and stepparents punish them, and then do not follow through. Children come to see your consequences as meaningless and know they can eventually get their way. Make sure that consequences are realistic for you, so you and your spouse are able to follow through.

It’s never easy hearing the words, “You can’t make me”. Equip yourself with patience, a sense of humor, lots of love and compassion and these 5 insider therapy strategies and you’ll find it easier to respond to the statement, “You can’t make me.”

Are you in need of more support to help your family communicate? We can help! Click here to schedule your Complimentary Support Consultation and learn how to best help your child.

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