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Monroeville, Greensburg, Monessen, and Wilkinsburg Pittsburgh
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February 27, 2011

Getting kids to listen: Do rather than say

Written by Dr. Carosso:
As parents, we expect kids to follow directions when told to do so, and that our child will do so immediately.  Oh, that it would be so.  To our despair, it’s not, and likely shall never be.

That’s the important point; kids are not automatons (or at least mine aren’t) – oh that it would be so:). 

I tell parents that we don’t expect a table or chair to move immediately on our command; so why do we expect our kids, who have their own agendas, wants, and distractions, to immediately follow our direction with a sense of urgency?

In fact, we might have better luck with that wooden table. 

So, should we simply give-up?   Okay.  Well, maybe not.   Instead, how about changing our expectations and, in doing so, lower our blood pressure.

Recognize that kids often need that ‘softer and closer’ approach (see former blog on that subject) and a physical prompt (gently guiding them in the right direction) and getting them started on the task. Helping them begin the chore also helps.

It helps to back-up our direction with firm consequences, and soft-spoken reminders of rewards that can be earned, and privileges that will be lost.

However, to our avail, we as parents tend to rely on pestering with an ever-increasing volume. This approach is the least favorable, and results in the most frustration and bad-feelings for all involved.

Remember, as parents, emotion and words are your enemy, while a softer and closer approach, and clearly explained expectations and consequences, is your friend.

Rely on consequences and action, not pestering.   After you've explained expectations and consequences (i.e. rewards and punishments), one time, then you've said enough; time to be quiet and follow-through.

Try it, you’ll like it. Now, go get softer and closer with your kids.

If you liked this, forward to a friend:)

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