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3 Tips That Will Actually Get Your Child To Listen
PHOTO BY @Anna Drozdova/iStock
  • There was a running joke among us friends when we were thinking of names for our future kids. Most of us wanted names that were unique or exotic or which sounded cute, but one said she was picking a one-syllable name for her child. Her reason? “It's easier to shout out a one-syllable name a hundred times when my child won't listen.” Clearly, this friend of ours had some insider information about parenting. 

    As we who have now “been there, done that” know, there will be times when our kids will ignore us, and often we feel we have to resort to yelling, until we accept defeat when they still won't listen and end up doing that task we wanted them to do ourselves.

    When Parents writer Vicki Glembocki has had enough with this problem at home, she and her fellow moms enrolled in a DIY workshop from the authors of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. They wanted to see if, indeed, the tips from this bestselling book would actually work. Seven weeks later, these parents swear by most of them, as below:

    Use one word only.

    When asking their kids to do something, it's typical of moms to drag on and on about the subject. I can relate to this. If my son doesn't take out the trash as he is supposed to, the subject could extend not only to insect infestation but also to its effects on health and, get this, his growing up to be a responsible adult.


    The kids actually know what they need to do and only need a simple reminder. According to Glembocki, author Faber told her, “They'll tune you out when you go on and on. Instead, try just one word to jog their memory.”
    Therefore, to use the same example above, I should just say “Trash” instead of preaching all night long. Glembocki says it worked with her kids.

    Give some information instead of just orders.

    Although we don't admit it, when we give orders, many of us would rather that our kids just follow the first time around without asking too many questions. However, as Glembocki discovered, explaining why you are asking the kids to do something might get them to be more cooperative. For example, she says instead of just telling your child to “Put the milk back in the fridge” (which he is likely to ignore), say “The milk will spoil if you leave it out.” Turn that order into a teaching moment.

    “This approach says to a child, 'I know that when you have all the information, you'll do the right thing,'” says Faber.

    State your expectations.

    Kids need to know “the plan” ahead of time. If you want them to get ready for an afternoon out, let them know what time (in an hour), and what you expect to happen by then (you should have brushed your teeth and put away your toys by then). Not doing so will probably result to pleading (“but I'm still playing”) and yelling (“I said, put away the toys now. We need to leave!”) and some crying, tantrums, and a shouting match.

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    Conditioning your child’s mind ahead of time (and maybe giving a one-word reminder a few minutes before) will get him in the right mood — and listen.

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