Are you ever frustrated because you have to repeat yourself dozens of times to get your child or teen to do something simple?
Would your life be much easier if your kids would listen the first time, and possibly even follow through?
Welcome to parenthood!
But, don't despair. There are some simple tweaks you can make that will help your kids open their ears, hear what you're saying, and respond respectfully.
Here's your Plan:
1. Decide exactly what you want your child to do.
Under normal circumstance, this step may be easy. Requests like pick up your shoes, get in the car, and put your iPad down come to mind. But, if you're frustrated or overwhelmed, it may be harder to pinpoint your goal. Think walking into a huge and unexpected mess or realizing that you're entire family is late for an important event and you need action.
Being crystal clear in your own mind about what you want your child to do sets the stage for success.
2. Be brief and direct.
Instead of shouting your child's name repeatedly or making general statements like, "Please just listen!" send clear, concise messages.
You don't have to bark like a drill sergeant, but keeping your request short and sweet helps. All those extraneous words and explanations can distract your child from the most important detail: What they need to be doing.
3. Add a time-frame for motivation.
Has your child ever said something along the lines of, "I'll do it in a minute," and then not follow through? Well, you're not alone. It's temping to put off a task, especially one that's not fun or exciting, and if there's never a consequence kids and teens can fall into the habit of procrastinating and dismissing what you're asking.
To avoid this, put a time-frame on your request so your child knows he or she is expected to follow through in five minutes, before dinner, or before he or she is able to get on their phone again.
4. Follow through.
You're always in the spotlight as a parent and your kids are watching your every move, even when it seems as if they're actively ignoring you. So, the more consistent you are in following through with the plan you laid out, the more consistent your child or teen will be at following through on their end of the bargain.
This means if you say your child has to put away his clothes before using his iPad, you have to be willing to hold the iPad until you're sure the task is completed.
5. Know that it's okay for your child to be temporarily upset.
If you're stepping up your parenting game and expecting a bit more follow through from your child, it's only natural for there to be growing pains. Anticipating that your child may be temporarily upset or frustrated will help you remain calm and confident.
Keep in mind that your child's momentary distress is fleeting, and it's for a good cause since the long-term goal of improving listening and respect is an invaluable life skill.
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