One of the biggest problems parents face today is getting their children to listen. Some parents try different approaches (like yelling, repeating and arguing), while others avoid it altogether. Either way, both approaches fall flat. In fact, they just add more fuel to the fire and deeply strain their relationship with their child.
If you would like to get your children to listen and solve problems peacefully with them, below are 5 steps to get you started:
- Wait until you are both cooled off
This is so hard to do but if you talk while you are angry, you may say things that you will probably regret and your child will most likely get defensive and not learn anything from the exchange.
Timing is crucial. Ask for permission.
Make sure that this is a good time to discuss an important conversation. It also prepares the child for a difficult topic and it shows your child respect for their heart and time.
- Share the event to be discussed.
Use as few words as possible avoiding blame and/shame. Use “I” statements. Example: “I went to school today to pick you up and you weren’t there.”
- Ask them what happened and listen.
Often, we jump to conclusions and make accusations that might not be true. Try to ask the question from a place of curiosity and non-judgement. I know, you almost have to be a saint to do this, but most parents are saints for going through everything we go through!
- Ask your child, “How do you think your behavior affected ________?” Or what was the impact of your action?
Most children don’t think about the implications of their behavior and their effect they have on others. This question teaches them the important life skill of empathy.
- Invite them to do a make up.
This teaches your child that when they make a mistake, it is important to repair the relationship by doing something to make up for the error. It also teaches them to be accountable for their actions. One of my clients son acknowledged that he had made mom worry and used up her valuable time. He knew that mom loves back rubs, so he decided to give her a 20 minute massage.
Note: A toddler will not be capable of this type of discussion, however, start this process of thinking as early as possible. Happy parenting! 😊
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Family Coach, Prof. Speaker
Stress and Anxiety Relief Specialist
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