The first thing to realise before you read this article is that we must not try to get our kids to do anything.
In our trying, we introduce effort, slogging, needing, etc. It brings on stress and this is counter productive. If you think to get your kids to follow you, you must force them to comply, you’re on a slippery slope to stress and problems (if you haven’t got them already!).
In my humble opinion, there is no such thing as a bad child. There’s only the product of the bad environment they find themselves in, or the inability of the parents to connect at their level.
Children are naturally in a good feeling place. It is the environment that we introduce them to that takes them from that place of peace and happiness. All they want is to have fun and enjoy their experiences.
When we try to get them to do what we want and they don’t listen it’s because we are already in a frustrated negative place and they are not interested in joining us there. We must get to a centered place of calm before we engage with them.
If I have learned anything from my life to date it is that good results never come from negativity. If we are in a bad place and we engage with our kids it’s never going to go well.
From here all we get is problems. If we do manage to get our kids to do what we want by means of shouting, ordering and punishing then results will be short lived. Sooner or later we’ll reap the cumulitive effects of our actions.
Self control and understanding our own emotional feedback system is the key to dealing with life situations, whether that’s dealing with our kids or any other relationship we encounter.
If we can not exercise self control and understanding of the other then we are lost down the road of fight or flight. To be effective in the world, especially as parents we must set a personal goal to refine ourselves first.
Keeping your head while all around you are losing theirs is key to having happy and meaningful relationships with your kids. Failure to do this over many years will inevitably lead to fragmented relationships as our kids get older and often there’s little chance of reconciliation.
Recognising the flaw in our tendency to lash out, threaten or punish our kids, it is a good thing. Only then can we do something about it, because it’s not about the kids, it’s about us, and the work we need to do on ourselves.
How To Get Your Kids To Listen
- Get Yourself Right First Recognise that it is only through refining ourselves and becoming more present and focused, can we ever truly have a positive impact on our kids. Moving from childhood to adulthood can be a tough time for our kids and we need to be there for them. What we do when they are young will set the stage for our future relationship with them. We have a choice.
- Meditate for 15 mins Daily Rise 30 mins earlier than you usually do and take time to center yourself. Meditation is very effective in setting the tone for the day and over time, allows you better deal with life stress. When you consciously decide to take control of your own happiness you will have an immediate positive effect on your kids.
- Make Things Fun Kids respond well to fun things, and so do we, we’ve just forgotten how to have fun. Make those chores that usually cause problems more fun by inventing a game around it. When there is momentum the other way it may be difficult but you must break that trend.
- Create A Structure I did a weekly job spreadsheet for my wife, the kids and for me, and I pinned it to the wall in the kitchen. I was amazed how effective it was with my boys. All I had to say was “hey, it’s on the list!” and it got done. But don’t be too rigid!(It’s important to include yourself in the chores)
- Ask For Help Now there must be an strong intention to get assistance from your kids when it comes to household chores, but not a forceful one. Pleading does not work either, especially if you already have an established a difficult situation with a particular task. Be strong and persistent with yourself while holding a positive expectation of the outcome. Eventually your kids will see a change in you and you will get the response you want.
- Break The Pattern Often we get stuck in a pattern that is very unhelpful to nurturing strong relationships with our kids. Quality time must be on the agenda where we can get to know our kids outside the everyday “to do” list. Too much structure and not enough “lazy time” can have a negative impact on kids. Kids work best in the moment and too often we push too hard with structure which brings negative results.
- Look them in the eye Kids respond well to eye-to-eye contact, but you must be in a good place to make this work. If you are being forceful and insistent and the mood is already gone south this wont work. You’ve got to get calm first before you try to engage up close and personal.
- Lower Your Tone This is part of no. 7, looking them direct in the eye. When you are calm and present without the need to control, then you can talk effectively. Your tone will naturally lower and will you be more likely to get a positive outcome.
- Give Praise & Rewards, not Punishment Threatening to remove toys and such, or privileges of any kind builds the wrong program in the minds of our kids. It’s the “do what I say or else” approach and it doesn’t work. Reward them for being great, and do it when they least expect it. Don’t punish them.
- Practice Consistency This takes work. As parents we have inherited the ideas about parenting from our own parents, and lets face it, most of them got it way wrong! Change takes work and you’ve got to put the work in if you want positive long lasting relationships with your kids.
No One Teaches Us How To Be A Parents
No One Teaches us How To Be Parents, but that’s not an excuse to do things as we’ve always done them. This is absentee parenting, parenting by default and it is completely irresponsible.
If we want to raise our kids to be strong, independent, interdependent and capable of creating a better world for themselves and their kids, then we must work on ourselves every moment to refine and improve.
Our job as parents is to do better than our parents did, and create a better world in the process. However most of us repeat the poor parenting skills we learned by default. Parenting is about self improvement and is hard work, but the benefits far outway the short term pain.