“How do I get my child to listen?!!”
Listening when you’re addressed by someone is a great life skill, but one that often our children don’t seem too eager to learn! Frustrated parents often say, “I hate it, but I just have to yell, and then they’ll finally listen.” What we’ve learned through decades of coaching parents is that a little connection and creativity goes a long way in helping kids tune in when they hear, “Time for dinner!” or “Pick up your toys, please!”
Here’s a great example of how one of our coaching families overcame barriers to listening. Kristi and Steve had a very challenging 6-year-old daughter. (For older kids, see below.) Sierra was intense about nearly everything. Her extremely bright brain was programmed to hone in on something interesting, and she was not to be deterred. Many times, it was like she was in a sound-proof focus bubble with whatever engaging activity was in front of her.
Kristi and Steve valued Sierra’s intensity because they saw that she was curious about many things and had a voracious desire to learn. But before they began coaching, they didn’t know how to help her, and she got timeouts, a scolding, or loss of privileges for not listening.
The rough-looking teen’s tough veneer had softened. I detected tears in his eyes.
“No one has ever said anything like that to me.”
Just minutes before, I met this teen in a line at our local amusement park. After a brief conversation, I dug a little deeper and asked Jared what he was good at. “Are you kidding?” He seemed angry. “Look at me.” Violent tattoos, tattered dark clothes, a defiant countenance and multiple piercings on his ears, nose, eyebrows and lips were suggestive of a hard life.
We are so honored to serve you and equip you in your parenting journey. Thank you for trusting us! We always welcome your feedback and stories from how you are integrating our resources into your family. We pray there is a little something for all of you to challenge and encourage you every time you read our content.
Without further ado, here are the Top 10 Most Viewed Posts of 2016!*
10. Don’t Punish Your Child’s Nervous System – Understand It!
9. Can Family Meetings Really Work?
8. 12 Misbehaviors and the God-Given Gifts Behind Them
7. An Open Letter to the Cincinnati Zoo Mom
6. How I Got My Kids to Obey Immediately…and Why I Stopped
5. When Kids Want it NOW!
4. The New Problem of Entitlement
3. Restitution Consequences
2. Your Kids: Responsible or Spoiled?
1. How a Pipecleaner Can Stop Your Child’s Meltdowns!
*In descending order, based on number of page views on our website.
“S#*t,” “Oh My God.” …or “What the _____?” We’ve heard from numerous parents that this kind of language hurts their ears as well as their hearts. If this is a struggle in your family, here’s how you might respond through the Discipline that Connects framework.
“You are SAFE with me!”
To communicate emotional safety while addressing your kids’ word choices means coming alongside them as their understanding helper instead of their judge (can they ever tell the difference!). Are your kids worried they won’t fit in? Do they even know what the words mean?
In the same way, it’s helpful to understand what might be behind your angst when your kids say offensive words. Consider these questions:
What happens at bedtime can set the tone for an entire evening and even impact the following morning. I often coach families that face struggles as their kids are getting to bed. Emotions can be high and even the anticipation of bedtime can create stress in a family. Does this sound familiar? Just as eight o’clock (or whatever time you have set) approaches, do you sense the tension rising? I coached one family through their bedtime routine and found a way together to improve the atmosphere around bedtime and end the day on a positive note.
Getting an education is a tremendous privilege. Most parents recognize that future opportunities are built on many layers of learning that happen during the school years. That’s why when kids make poor choices at school, either behavioral or academic, parents usually get pretty upset. If we are honest, it’s mostly because we think our kids’ bad judgment or irresponsibility reflects poorly on US! But really, their behavior is THEIR “report card” and not ours. As school approaches, take some time to prepare your children to be responsible for themselves this school year.
Parents of siblings… did you ever think it would be this hard?
You imagined your kiddos as best friends, being there for each other throughout life, always having each other’s backs. And yet, here they are, yo-yo-ing from best friends to bitter enemies several times a day. Sometimes it seems like the “best friend” moments are becoming increasingly fleeting as you just try to keep the next world war from launching in your living room.
We’ve been there. We feel your pain. And we’re working to develop an online course specifically to address this seemingly impossible challenge.
Recently we wrote about helping kids value sharing. If your child needs some practice sharing, and you want some practical ideas, consider following in the footsteps of this thoughtful dad:
When God decided which of his children would be key leaders he avoided the step-in-line, shiny-looking ones. In fact, when we look in scripture at some well-known “Bible heroes,” we see that God chose some serious screwups to guide his precious people:
- Moses – Impulsively murdered an Egyptian man. Went on the lam for 40 years.
- Saul/Paul – Determined to destroy the church at all costs. Orchestrated the arrest, persecution, and even murder of Christians.
- Peter – A short-fused poster child for impulsivity. Biggest disciple screw-up. Told Jesus five times that he was wrong.
Two murderers and an ADHD poster child. Not exactly a crew that we would expect to give spiritual leadership seminars or impress the religious elite.
Why did God choose them? Because all the intensity and passion behind their “misbehavior” could be re-directed for Kingdom purposes.
Parents usually love when their kids are outgoing and gregarious crowd-pleasers. But when kids clam up parents tend to get a bit anxious themselves and make the proclamation — or maybe more the apology — “Oh, he’s just a shy one.” The “shy” label may be somewhat accurate, but it does nothing to honor the child or help him become more confident about who he is.