The Secret To Getting Your Kids To Listen
Our children have this funny habit of sometimes getting on our nerves. We love them to the moon and back, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t find ourselves annoyed or irritated with things they are saying or doing.
Babytalk? Whining? I’m talking to you.
When you mix irritating behaviour, lack of sleep and to-do lists, and bottle them up in the pressure cooker we call life, the outcome is predictably not great. Here’s a little tip (that delivers big results) to keep your family environment a little more peaceful—even in the face of loveably irrational thinkers and the bathroom jokes they bring with them.
It’s all in what you say, and how you say it.
It’s very easy to get sucked into a reactive trap of responding to unsavoury things your kids are doing: “Don’t hit your brother!” “Stop whining!” “Quit kicking my seat!” “No toilet talk at the table!” “I said no splashing in the tub!”
All of that tells your littles what you don’t want them to do. It also adds a lot of negativity to your living space.
If you start to frame your thinking in terms of what you want your child to do, it cuts back the negative words, the negative tone, and moreover, it lays out very clearly what you expect from them.
You can immediately hear the difference between the examples I gave above and their positive counterparts: “You need to use gentle hands.” “I can listen better when you ask me in a different way.” “Keep your feet to yourself; I need to concentrate on driving.” “When you talk about poop it tells me you have to use the bathroom.” “The water stays in the tub; when you splash it tells me you are finished in there.”
You are essentially saying the same thing, but in a more effective, and much more peaceful way. Further, by cutting to the chase and telling them what you expect from them, you’re actually setting them up to change their own behaviour…which instantly makes your life easier.
Life is all about relationships and communicating well within them; start modelling communication skills from an early age and everybody wins.
This can be challenging at first, and realistically, just isn’t possible 100 per cent of the time; of course there are times when things are too harried, out of control, over tired, overwhelmed, and you just plain lose it. We call that being human. But if you consciously change your pattern of speaking to your children from one that corrects them to one that guides them, I think you’ll notice an overall change in the happiness quotient in your family dynamic.