How Can I Get My Child to Listen to Me?

The temper tantrums, the silent treatment. Even asking politely, repeating calmly and reminding nicely, your child just doesn’t want to listen. Because of that, you feel fed up and decide that scolding, beating and screaming are the best ways. Yet, this leaves you defeated and frustrated, and everyone is discouraged and the atmosphere moody.

What if I told you that there are ways to get your child to listen to you? The bond and respect between parent and child must always be cultivated and nurtured to ensure your child listens to you, and here are some tips to help you.

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Speak at their level

To get a person’s attention, eye contact is very important, especially when maintaining that attention on you. Similarly, lower yourself to eye level with your child when giving him instructions to strengthen communication and ensure that he sees and hears you. This way, it makes it harder for your child to ignore your requests as well.

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Use positive commands

It is intuitive to see an action that we are disagreeable to and ask others NOT to do it — ‘Don’t disturb your brother’, ‘Don’t draw on the wall’, ‘Don’t play with your food’ etc. However, negative commands like ‘don’t’ and ‘no’ make it confusing for your child to comprehend as he must understand what not to do and what to do instead. Moreover, a rebellious child would not take kindly to people telling him what not to do.

Instead, tell your child what to do. For example, tell your child, “You are bothering your brother. Could you go and play your toys?” instead of “Don’t disturb your brother” or “Please draw on a piece of paper” instead of “Don’t draw on the wall”.

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Say ‘yes’ more often

The more questions we are asked, the more likely we are to give short and candid answers “No”, “Not today”, “I can’t”. But when you always shut your child out, the more likely he is to stop bothering with your requests since you are doing the same to him.

Hence, it is important to try saying ‘yes’ to your child more often. If you can’t, give a possibility instead of a direct ‘no’. For example, when asked if he can have an ice cream, say something like “Maybe tomorrow, since you ate too much sugary food today” or “You can have it when you are done with your homework”. By agreeing more to his requests, you increase your chances of him listening to your own requests.

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Be clear and concise

When we are emotional, we tend to say more than we mean to, turning a five-second answer into a five-minute ramble. However, children tend to tune out when hearing a long speech.

As such, when you wish to get the attention of your child, be as concise as you can, and he won’t even have time to tune you out!

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Say ‘thank you’ in advance

Using positive language helps more than scolding, and a simple show of appreciation makes you more endearing and appreciative of your child listening to you. Saying a simple ‘Thank you for clearing your dishes after you’re done’ will put your child in a good mood and feel better about listening to you.

By thanking your child and informing him in advance that you trust him to do the correct thing, it will inspire open communication lines and increase the likelihood the task will be done. This will also encourage him to be on his good behaviour.

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