9 Psychological Tricks That Can Teach Your Kids to Listen to You
Once you secretly tell your friend that you are not very happy about the arrival of your mother-in-law, your kids’ ears will instantly hear it and convey this information to their beloved granny. At the same time, advice and instructions that you have repeated to your kid many times don’t stay in their memory for long.
Bright Side editorial decided to find out how to finally make your kids listen to the words of their parents. Psychologists give special recommendations on this topic.
Concentrate your kid’s attention on yourself.
Kids that get carried away with a game or a fight will not even notice that you’re addressing them, thus ignoring your words or even screams. To get your child to listen to you and help them focus on what you are saying, squat down or bend over to them and put your hand gently on their shoulder. It will help increase the chances that you will be heard.
Switch to a whisper.
Though it seems to us that screaming gets quick results, kids tend to get used to screaming parents and stop reacting to them. That’s why if your kids are shouting in a room and playing wildly, try to whisper to them. This method works especially well with small kids, and it also has a good effect on teenagers and adults.
It turns out that understanding a whisper requires more mental effort, and this makes a person feel distracted from other things, allowing them to listen more attentively to the words of the interlocutor. In addition, we instinctively feel that important phrases that are said in a whisper can affect our well-being. For children, a quiet voice often has a calming effect, so you can switch to whispering to simply reduce the child’s anxiety.
Let your kid control the situation.
Try to use more “when-then” statements when talking to your kids. It will help children realize that they can control the situation and that it’s your child who is in control of when a positive outcome occurs. Also use these statements when you want to get some actions from your kid: “When you finish watching cartoons, please wash the dishes.”
Dose the information.
The brains of kids under 7 years old can store no more than 1 to 2 pieces of information, and older children and adults can store up to 3 to 5 pieces. That’s why it’s senseless trying to get your kid’s attention with the help of several sentences at once — it’s better to frame all the important things that you want to say in 1 or 2 short phrases. Safety rules are better conveyed gradually as not to stuff a child’s brain with a bunch of advice and instructions.
Think about if you’re prone to nag
If your kids keep ignoring you, perhaps you raise your voice too often when talking to them or simply nag a lot. You’d better not do the latter for the following reasons:
- It makes the child feel incompetent.
- Kids understand that they are manipulated and distance themselves from parents.
- They listen to you even less.
- Your nagging simply annoys them.
- Kids quickly understand that they only need to wait until the word storm is over and the task will be completed without their help.
- Both you and the child concentrate only on the negative part of the matter, not on its solution.
Instead of resenting the hundredth time dirty dishes are left on the table, try praising the kid for their correct actions. If you demand something from your kid, come up with clear instructions and warn them about the consequences only once.
Explain to your kids how their behavior makes you feel.
It’s important that the kid understands how their actions affect people and animals surrounding them. You don’t need to instill a feeling of guilt in them, you only need to explain that their actions can give someone pain, grief, and resentment. It will help your child learn to empathize with others faster. Tell your kid how you feel from their words or what their behavior says to you. For example, “Your whining tells me you’re tired and it’s time we left the playground.”
Listen to your kids.
Learn to listen carefully to your son or daughter without interrupting or being distracted by other things, like watching a movie or texting. This forms a foundation of trust between you. This will make the child feel understood and they’ll be more disposed to listen to you in response.
Even if you catch them doing something they shouldn’t be doing, let them speak. Learn about how they feel and what pushed them to do it. Only after this can you give them any advice about it.
Make them think for themselves.
Instead of repeating safety rules to your kids a thousand times, like that they aren’t listening attentively, make their memories go to work. Ask them a question about what they should do in a certain situation or how they see a certain issue. It will help them remember the rules better and you won’t look like a parrot when reminding them about a piece of useful advice.
Love your kids the way they are.
A parent who yells at their kid for picking their nose or for throwing a tantrum in public is likely having issues not with the kid but with the way they themselves are perceived. They feel ashamed that someone might think that he or she is a bad parent. To learn to accept your offspring with all their imperfections (which is the base of trust), the parent should, first of all, accept themselves.
Even if right now the behavior of your kid is far from perfect, you shouldn’t doubt that they will grow into a decent person. Love them with all their imperfections. The kids will listen to your opinion only if they consistently feel your support.
What do you do when your son or daughter ignores what you say to them or demonstratively slams the door in your face? How did your parents manage to get out of such conflicts when you were a kid?