How to make your kids listen

Shutterstock.com/ Anna Kraynova

Children are tough. Although they are young and inexperienced in the world, the daily routine to get them to do small things can seem like a battle with an evil genius. They appear to outsmart us at every turn. One of the most frustrating things as a parent is having to repeat yourself over and over again. If children just did things the first time we asked, parents would likely get valuable hours back in their day. I want to share the secret to getting your child to listen to your needs, the first time you ask.

The answer is really simple but 90% of parents do not do it. The majority of parents just repeat themselves over and over until the child finally gives up and does what they are told. While this usually results in success, it is a lot to give up for it. This is a bad approach because it shows your child that you are getting angry as your tone rises, this is admitting weakness, they shouldn’t have the power to affect you so easily. It shows them that there are no consequences to ignoring you as you will just say it again. This means that if they are playing a game, they will happily finish the level before acknowledging that you said something, they have nothing to lose. 

A better approach is to treat your child that is pretending they didn’t hear you as if they need your help. If you ask your child to brush their teeth and they walk into the bedroom. Put some toothpaste on a toothbrush and bring it to them, waking them towards the bathroom in a friendly manner. This will show them that if they are unable to do something you are there to help. If they are really struggling with something (maybe they are tired or sad) they will be glad you helped. If they are just acting up then you helping them will annoy them as they want to be independent, they will likely refuse your help. 

The key to this approach is to never get angry while doing it. If you give them the toothbrush and angrily tell them to brush their teeth they will still want to act out and you have still shown weakness. By taking the approach that they need help you are removing any choice from the situation. Whether they brush their teeth is no longer the question, the question is if they need help or not.

All children at a young age want more independence, if you start taking it away from them they will do all they can to win it back. Some kids will try and be smart and take the lazy way out, by letting you put the toothpaste on the toothbrush every night. Ensure this is not going to happen in the future by giving them slow tutorials on how it is done every time until they really feel they have to prove they know. Whatever you do, keep calm, and do not repeat yourself.