Before long, you find yourself on a slippery slope and the whole house is filled with threats and bargaining. It becomes exhausting just getting your kids to do anything without a battle.
So, what’s going on? Why does my child only listen when I yell? How can I break this habit and get my kids listen and behave?
“But I start off asking nicely, it’s only when they ignore me, I end up shouting. It’s the only thing that gets them to listen to me.” I hear so many parents tell me.
You may start off asking nicely, but how many times do you ask your child to do something? Really think about it for a moment. What percentage of your conversation with your child is asking them to do something or stop doing something, telling them off, nagging and cajoling…?
I was blown away when I heard that the latest research shows that the average young child hears over 20 commands every half hour. Just imagine yourself being told what to do every minute of the day… that’s over 400 commands every – single – day.
And we wonder why our kids don’t listen to us?!
It’s not your children’s fault. We’ve unwittingly trained them to ignore us.
“Come here…put your shoes on…get dressed…stop that! don’t hit your brother…eat your dinner…get in the bath…get outta the bath” … it’s never ending.
Put yourself in your child’s shoes. How would it feel being besieged with demands and commands? It’s going to drive you bananas. It’s this constant nagging and being told what to do that pushes your child to utter frustration and to tuning you out.
So, while your child is tuning you out, you’re going to have to repeat yourself to be heard and they soon learn they have several opportunities to ignore you before they have to listen.
They’re thinking “Okay, all’s good, I don’t have to move yet. She just started getting cranky… I’ve got time.”
Now, depending on the nature of your child, they may shut down and tune you out, or if you have more self-directed child, they’re the ones thinking:“STOP telling me what to do!!!!” These children are not going to be bossed around.
So, what happens next? Your child’s behaviour drives you bananas, pushes you to becoming overwhelmed, creates frustration and into your very own tantrum. And then… the shouting begins.
And it’s this cycle that teaches your child to ignore you till you shout, not to mention you’re teach your child to shout back, fuelling a pattern of communication that breaks down your relationship.
When we push our children into doing things from fear, guilt or obligation it leads to resentment. No wonder our children stop listening. Your child stops caring about what you want, as they feel like you don’t care what they want.
So, how can you break the cycle?
Language of Listening® give you a wonderful simple yet powerful coaching model that gets you the willing cooperation you want. To have more support and examples of just what to say to gain willing cooperation? Check out my free eCourse. I’ll take you from wild kids to listeners’ in a few days. Click here to sign up now.
Coaching is all about your relationship with your child. When your child feels heard and validated, they are primed to want to listen to you.
Forget about repeating yourself over and over again. The first step is all about connection. You’re not here to do anything, but to simply connect and understand your child’s point of view.
This important part is the step normally missing from parenting. It’s understandable when we’ve got busy lives and things to get done, but taking an extra couple of minutes at this stage will save time and tears later.
Your child, in fact all human beings are motivated by what they want, when you focus your attention on what your child wants, and how they can get what they want within your boundary, well that’s where you get the willing cooperation.
The next two steps are all about GUIDANCE.
When you see something you don’t like, you offer a CAN DO.
A CAN DO within your boundary helps you gain willing cooperation and helps your child gain problem-solving skills.
And when you see something you do like, you offer a STRENGTH.
STRENGTHs help your child to see their greatness and gain confidence in their abilities.
And these are how your child becomes able to control their own behaviour and actions. Isn’t that SO much easier than trying to control their behaviour by nagging them 1000s of times a day?!
The difference with Language of Listening® is that you both get what you want. As the parent you hold the boundary while supporting your child to get what they want within your boundary. Want to have more examples of how you can implement Language of Listening® into your family life? check out my download books
Let me give you an example of how this would work.
Let’s look at a common complaint from parents the world over: Getting your child’s shoes on and out the door in the morning. A universal problem – all ages…..all countries.
So, imagine your child is busy playing in their room. You’ve a few minutes till you’re walking out the door and their shoes are not on.
You ask nicely once, “It’s time to put your shoes on.”
And your child says ”No!”. Like when Amy Winehouse was asked if she wanted to go to rehab she said “no, no, no”
Rather than repeating yourself, pause a moment and step onto your child’s side.
Say what your child is Doing, Saying, Feeling or Thinking. “You’re busy. You don’t want to leave yet, you’re not ready!”
When you repeat back to your child what they said or what they want, they will naturally give you more information.
They might say “I’m not done yet. I want to make sure my bears are all tucked up in bed.”
We sometimes write these off as excuses, but that doesn’t help you and it doesn’t help your child.
What they are telling you is something that actually matters to them. And the more you acknowledge what matters to them, the more they will acknowledge what matters to you!
So, if when your child says she’s not done yet, you can go further into Say What I See®
“You know just how you want your bears; how thoughtful you are.”
You get to see what’s right with that. You get to validate your child’s wants and point out her strengths, without changing your boundary.
Then you can pause and offer guidance.
Starting with the all-purpose CAN DO statement, it can sound like this:
“We need to leave to get to school on time, Hmmm, there must be something you can do.”
And I bet your child’s eyes will brighten, as they step into problem solving mode.
This is how you get willing cooperation. You can stay connected and encourage your child to come up with all sorts of ways to get out the door on time.
And what’s so great about this model is that whatever your child comes up with, whatever CAN DO she thought of, you get to name a STRENGTH. She came up with her own solution.
You can say “You found a way to get your bears all comfy. You’re so thoughtful and kind, and you found a way to get your shoes on. What a problem-solver you are.”
What a wonderful strength for your child to know about herself.
This coaching model is like a template. Because what you see comes from the child. It’s always right for that moment. You can describe what you see and you’re off and running into your child’s world. Finding solutions while maintaining your boundary.
No one is perfect, we are going to shout and get frustrated at our children from time to time. Start with just one attempt – you won’t suddenly stop shouting over night, but look out for the next opportunity to hold in the nag, and Say What You See® instead. The more you do, the more you’ll get the willing cooperation you’re after.