Let’s start with the challenge, “My Child Doesn’t Listen”.
When a parent says my child doesn’t listen, they really mean they won’t obey. Wouldn’t you rather have cooperation and motivation from within than obedience from fear, or from a child who is learning to be an approval junkie?
When children don’t listen it could be that you are lecturing or making demands that create classic power struggles. You say, “Do”. Your child says, “Won’t” in words or by actions.
If you complain that your child doesn’t listen, could it be that you aren’t modeling what listening is all about?
Children will listen to you AFTER they feel listened to.
- When your child tells you something, do you listen, or do you explain, get defensive, or lecture?
- Do you try to talk your child out of his or her feelings?
- Try listening.
- Try validating your child’s feelings.
- Try asking CONVERSATIONAL CURIOSITY QUESTIONS.
Parents TELL their children
- What happened
- What caused it to happen
- How they should feel about it
- What they should do about it
Ask Conversational Curiosity Questions
- What were you trying to accomplish?
- How do you feel about what happened?
- What did you learn from it?
- What ideas do you have to solve the problem or prevent it from happening again?
Get curious about what your child thinks and feels. Take a pause and listen to their answers. This will give you some time to respond with greater understanding.
Asking curiosity questions that invite discussion will actually invite your child to think and to feel more capable.
Changing your style of communication can take some time. It can be a challenge to stop in the moment when you might be feeling triggered by your child to ask curiosity questions vs. giving a demand.