Some handy phrases to try when your child just will not listen to you
Parenting, let's agree, is a work in progress – for all of us.
None of us are experts – we are all just essentially thrown in at the deep end, and learn how to parent little by little, in a very sink-or-swim way.
One thing I feel like I am forever trying to get better at, especially as my children are getting bigger, is communication – the way I speak to them – and, in turn, the way they both listen to me and respond to what I say.
And while, I think, we would all like to be super-parents who always manage to react in an adult manner and communicate in the most neutral, caring and encouraging way, the reality is that kids push our buttons, stretch our boundaries and generally make us reach the far edges of our patience and sanity on a regular basis.
The result? We get angry and snap, or threaten and lose our cool when they won't listen when we try to talk to them. Which in turn just turns into a vicious circle or terrible communication and very few solutions.
Instead, I have come to realise, that for everyone's sake, I need to speak to my kids the very same way I would like to be spoken to – with respect and care and empathy. And look, I know it's not always easy – or even possible –but it's a start.
Need a little help to try and get your kids to listen and to communicate better? These positive phrases are a great place to start:
1. “Do you want to to do it by yourself or will I help you?”
This is a great one, especially in the mornings when you are rushing to get everyone out the door in time. Instead of the usual: 'HURRY UP WE HAVE TO LEAVE NOW,' or 'I'VE ASKED YOU 10 TIMES NOW!' simply try to diffuse the situation by asking your child if he needs help (or maybe even just a cuddle) or if he wants to do whatever it is that he is doing by himself.
2. "What did that show you/what did you learn?"
So much better than "I told you so," no? Instead of shaming your child for doing something they clearly shouldn't have done, you are empowering them to make smarter choices going forward.
3. "We are on cheetah time today and need to move fast!”
Take a break from: “Hurry Up!” or “We are going to be late!”
Tip: Just be sure to let them be on turtle time sometimes! We could all use a healthy dose of slowing down, so provide mornings where everyone is relaxed and the kids can move slow.
4. “Do you guys wanna leave now or play for ten more minutes, then leave?"
Kids love to be in charge of their own destiny, especially power kids! This takes a tad bit of pro-activity, but it works like a charm. Give them a choice and they’ll respond much better when you say “OK, 10 minutes is up, time to go.”
5. "Please ______________.”
Take a break from: “Don’t!” or “Stop It!” Because when you think about it, we don't go through life being so blunt and rude to other people around. Instead of focusing on the negative "don't do," we are asking for what we do want, and it can suddenly make all the difference.