Do you feel like your kids never listen? They tune you out, ignore your requests, and respond disrespectfully?
It’s time to try something new.
It may seem counter-productive, but it may be the key to getting a reply from your children.
Instead of talking more…try talking less.
Imagine being questioned, reminded and directed repeatedly from the time you woke up to the time you went to bed. Imagine this person followed you around, at home, at work, and everywhere in between. They even poked their head in the bathroom to remind you to use soap and rinse well.
At some point, you would probably get fed up. You would either start to ignore this person, thinking to yourself, “Yeah, yeah, I know how to pour a cup of coffee,” or you would say, (possibly even yell) “ENOUGH!”
This is how many kids feel and act too.
As a parent, it is your job to help your children make good decisions, remember to complete certain tasks and stay organized. Kids have a natural tendency to forget, misplace and need redirection.
However, if your kids are tuning you out, it may be that they may need fewer directions, fewer reminders, and fewer repetitions.
This may not be easy.
It might feel a little awkward not to repeatedly yell, “be careful!” when your child is climbing up the jungle gym.
You might feel sheer terror as you quietly watch your grade-school child pour her own orange juice.
And, there might be times when you know the outcome is not going to be pretty…like when your son decides to wear a dirty shirt to school for the third day in a row rather than put his clothes in the hamper to be washed.
As you go through your day, take a split-second to check your words before you speak.
- Is this statement necessary?
- Does your child really need a reminder?
- Are you concerned that your child may fail or struggle?
- Is this an opportunity for your child to show their skills or critical thinking skills?
Experiment with letting a few reminders, directives or cautions go unsaid. (Of course, if your child is in danger or potential danger, you should intervene).
The payoff will be worth it.
The beauty of saying less is that when you do say something, it will be because it is important.
Your children are more likely to listen, which means, they are more likely to respond to, learn from, or do what you say!
Getting what you want, by doing less.