... She said Again
What to do when the Kids won't listen!
'Can you please turn down the volume?' I asked again.
'Do you mind turning the sound down?' Maybe asking a different way might get a response she thought.
'Hello? Can you hear me over that volume?' I said again, running out of patience and walking to the remote to turn off the screen.
'Muuum.' He whinged in a tone of disapproval.
'Sorry, but you couldn't hear what I was trying to say to you a moment ago and I thought turning it off might get your attention.' I told him.
'Sorry, for having it so loud.'
This is a situation that every parent goes through at some point. It feels like you are talking to yourself more than anything. It is frustrating, especially when you have to say the same thing over and over and over again. Why don't the kids just listen the first time that you tell them something?
Looking in to the subject has been interesting and informative. In most cases the kids aren't listening to you because they are distracted by something that they are doing. Other times, they think that you are going to ask them to do something so if they pretend to be a fly on the wall they won't have to. Some times they don't want to and on rare occasions, they can't actually hear you.
The first question that a parent needs to ask themselves before they try get the kids attention is the Timing right. If they are watching the television or are in the middle of playing a game with their friends, do you really need them now? If you were playing a game, would you like someone interrupting you?
If the request can wait five minutes or until after the friend has gone home, then you are showing your child that you respect their need to have a friend over. You can even give them a five minute warning so that they aren't surprised. But if it is time sensitive, then you need to show Empathy for interrupting by giving them a Reason. Just letting the kid know that you understand that you are interrupting but this is time sensitive will help them empathise with you.
Listen to what they have to say in return to your request. This will show them that what they say has weight and you do respect their opinion. Doesn't mean that you have to agree, but they are more likely to listen to you if you listen to them. If the only thing coming out of their mouth is a complaint, then ask them why? Engage in a conversation with them. Maybe you will uncover the reason why they don't like the job you have asked of them.
Kids learn by example. I am sure that it has been proven by someone more knowledgeable on brain chemistry than I am. I have definitely read it in enough books and parenting websites. You don't have to do the dishes for them all the time, you show them once or twice and then they know. You put your plate by the sink or in the dishwasher after you eat, they see you do this and they learn.
When it comes to the bigger stuff like how to be respectful and considerate to others and listening when people are talking to them. The kids have watched you all their lives. By showing the kids that you respect your possessions, treat others with respect, respect their need for personal space, will more likely gain their respect of you and yours. When they see you being considerate of other peoples needs, stopping to help others, picking up the slack if you see someone struggling. If you stop and talk politely to others then they have seen that.
In my experience timing is the most important. If we need to leave somewhere, I will give the kids a five minute warning so that they can finish up before we go. If I know that I need something done in a short time frame, I will ask them to please do it now and explain why. When I don't get a response from a call, I will find out where they are and check that they are okay, because if they are not answering me, they must be super busy.
I have used the chip system for a few years now and if the kids ignore me then I will chip them for it. If they ignore me twice I will try and figure out why (normally by asking) and still chip them twice. If it get as far as a third time then I will try and get down to the child's level and kick in with some empathy. If this is a regular occurrence, when they do finally respond straight away I reward them with a blur chip and a solid high five. Celebrating accomplishments encourages a desire to help more.
I hope that this gives you something to think about. Do you consider what the kids are going through before you ask them to do something? When they don't respond do you give yourself the time to reflect on the timing of your question, or follow up?
What do you think are the main reasons that your kids don't listen to you?
I look forward to hearing what you think.
Until then my friends.