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How to Get Your Child to Listen to Your Request

How to Get Your Child to Listen to Your Request

    I cannot count the number of times I’ve either heard my coaching clients or parents on the street say, “My child just doesn’t listen to me!” or “Why can’t he/she just listen?”

    There are two issues here:
    1. The child doesn’t have a healthy level of respect for the parents’ authority (as hard as this may be to admit)
    2. The parent is making the request at the wrong time.

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    Luckily, there are two great solutions to these issues.

    I’ll never forget my first year of teaching. I was fresh out of university and was hired to teach French to a class that had gotten two other teachers to quit; they saw me as their new challenge and boy did they challenge me! I spent months trying to use every technique I had ever been taught – nothing worked. I tried talking to them, bribing them, yelling at them, punishing them, rewarding them yet nothing seemed to improve. One day I called the parent of one of the more difficult students to inform them, once again, of their son’s rude behaviour. The response I got from the father shook me to my core. He said, “Look, I can’t make him respect you. You have to do that.” How embarrassing!

    “What do I do now?” I thought. After a lot of thought, prayer and contemplation I devised a 4 step discipline technique that I would try to use over and over again; I was tired of trying so many different strategies. And truly, once I really thought about things, I realized that the kids didn’t know what to expect from me because I kept changing my relationship and expectations with them.

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    It only took a few days to notice a HUGE improvement and by the end of that year even the most difficult kids cried at having to leave my class and move on to a new teacher. I had earned their respect and when I asked them to do something…or not to do something, they intrinsically wanted to listen.

    This is what every parent needs to do. Once respect is there, not just love, but a genuine respect, then parenting becomes easy, simple and an extremely joyful, stress-free experience.

    Using a simple, consistent form of discipline is key, as is enjoying special moments together as a family and spending one-on-one time with each child. Furthermore, specific praise as well as non-verbal praise needs to be present. If all of these areas are present between parent and child you’ve got yourself a winning situation and a child who will listen to you.

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    The second issue I see as being a problem with parents I coach is in the timing of their request.

    We have our own agendas and when we want out kids to do something we want it done NOW so we can move on to our next task. Although this is understandable, we must understand and respect that our children have their own agendas and even though they seem trivial to us, they are very important to our kids. No one likes spur-of-the-moment interruptions, so be considerate.

    When you want you child to do something try to:
    a) Give a countdown. “Sally, in 5 minutes it’s time to eat dinner.” Or, “In 5 minutes it’s time to clean up.” Then gently count down.
    b) Make the request after their TV program is over, during a commercial or at least not during an exciting part. If you have the option to pause the movie or program do so, then make your request, but be very specific. For example, “After this show it’s time to ________.”
    c) Use praise or thank you’s when your child listens well. For example, “Thanks for coming so quickly after your program was finished, I appreciate that.” Then solidify the compliment with a quick smile, back rub, thumbs up, or squeeze of the hand.

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    Putting a few things into practice will change the dynamics in your family dramatically, as well as your relationship with your child – what’s better than that?

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    Last Updated on August 6, 2020

    6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

    6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

    We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

    “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

    Are we speaking the same language?

    My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

    When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

    Am I being lazy?

    When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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    Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

    Early in the relationship:

    “Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

    When the relationship is established:

    “Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

    It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

    Have I actually got anything to say?

    When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

    A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

    When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

    Am I painting an accurate picture?

    One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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    How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

    Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

    What words am I using?

    It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

    Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

    Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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    Is the map really the territory?

    Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

    A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

    I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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