When Kids Aren’t Listening

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Put your shoes on RIGHT NOW. OR ELSE! This is the fifth time I’ve asked you, mister…yada yada yada. Sound familiar? Why won’t our children do what they’re told?

In a perfect world, children would obey their parents without a second thought. Unfortunately, the world is far from perfect, and kids don’t always do as they are told. The good news is that, as a parent, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Read on to learn how to get your child to do what you ask… without begging, bribing, threatening, and screaming. Yay!

Be Versatile

No two children the same. It’s for that reason that you need to be versatile when it comes to getting your children to obey you. Some kids are naturally strong-willed, which poses more of a challenge. You may have to impose consequences several times for them to follow the rules. If one particular consequence doesn’t seem to be doing the trick, the best thing to do is to try a new one.

Choose Your Battles

Don’t reinforce rules that don’t have major significance. For example, in the case of older children, don’t be so strict about things like having them make the bed the first thing in the morning. It’s more vital for them to wear a helmet when skateboarding or riding a bike.

When attempting to get your children to follow the rules, regardless of their ages, issue an appropriate time limit. Simply giving them a list of things to do, without a timeframe attached, means that what you’re asking them to do may never get done.

Be an Active Listener

It’s imperative to listen to your children, regardless of how well they do what you ask. If they continue to disobey you, even after multiple attempts of being told what to do, take the time to sit down with them and ask them what the problem is. Getting down to the bottom of the issue will help you both understand the steps you should take to rectify the problem.

Say What You Mean

When you tell your child to do something, mean it. Following through is everything. Children who don’t obey only learn by being presented with a set of age-appropriate consequences. No consequences mean that they can continue to ignore your requests without any significant changes in their daily routine.

Also, make sure your child is paying full attention to what you’re saying. Look him (or her) in the eye to let him know that you mean business. Many parents make the mistake of yelling commands from another room. Typically, when this happens, the request is taken much less seriously. If your child isn’t in the same place as you, ask him to come to you or take an extra minute and go to the child.

Probably the most important thing to remember is to stand your ground. Never give in, no matter how tense the situation. If you give in once, your kids will recognize that the next time they don’t want to obey. They’ll drag things out until you decide to give in again.

These are just a few simple things that you can do to get your child to obey you the first time, without the need to threaten or beg. It may take a bit of time to achieve satisfactory results. But, with patience and due diligence, chances are you’ll soon see significant improvement.

You Need to Take Care of This

Parenting isn’t always easy, especially when it comes to deciding which parent is going to dole out the discipline. Arguments often ensue as a result of one parent insisting that the other be “the bad guy.” It’s an uncomfortable situation for everyone involved.

The good news is that there is something that you can do, as the disciplinarian, to better communicate with the unwilling parent. Keep reading for more information.

 Be Insistent  

When being asked to lay down the law, be persistent in your explanation that you feel the task needs to be a shared responsibility. Indicate that you prefer to talk to your children as part of a team. This will help to prevent the possibility that your child will automatically take sides and end up preferring to deal with the more lenient parent whenever times get tough.

Giving in to the other person’s demands, to make the problem go away, isn’t an answer. Think of it as putting the bandage on a cut that needs stitches. It’s always much better to come to some agreement regarding sharing disciplinary responsibilities, rather than just giving up.

Don’t Argue 

When your spouse, ex, or significant other demands that you talk to your child to rectify any issue, do everything you can not to argue about it – especially when the child is in earshot. Even if you have to step away for a moment to gather your thoughts, it’s much better than getting into a heated discussion.

Along the same lines, never tell your children that the other parent is making you discipline them. It should be obvious that bad-mouthing mom or dad will only create more hatred and lessen the chance of everyone getting along in the future.

  Instill Confidence  

Many times, in cases like this, silent parents are silent because they lack confidence in their parenting skills… especially when there is tension in the household. Try to reassure your child’s other parent that he or she is an essential part of the disciplinary process and that you genuinely value their input in the matter.

Mental Consequences

Unfortunately, there can be mental consequences to frequent “good cop, bad cop” discipline sessions. Children learn about relationships by watching their parents. So, as adults, these same children will be more apt to get into an identical routine with their kids.

Also, on an even deeper level, children whose parents have a difficult time with discipline sometimes suffer from lower self-esteem. Typically, when a child feels as though a parent has a problem accomplishing something, he (or she) perceives the same of himself.

Remember, the “good cop, bad cop” approach is meant for criminals, not children. Pitting one parent against the other never solves anything. It only creates more tension and possibly even alienation.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having different parenting styles. Varying perspectives are quite beneficial when it comes to many parenting-related issues. Problems occur when one parent is so set in his or her ways is it difficult for them to try something different.

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