One of the most common questions parents ask today is: How can I get my kid to LISTEN to me? Why do parents feel that today children don’t care much for their opinions? Why getting a child to listen to them become a struggle for most parents today?
Children have so many things to think about all day. Studies, sports, friends, siblings etc. Some parents feel they don’t get enough attention from their children. They also end up feeling they are unable to catch up with their children. Building basic conversations seems like a lost cause.
So, we thought why not get to the other side of the situation? We sat down with children of various age groups and tried having a conversation with them. Gathered their perspectives. What we heard was not only shocking. Good news is, it also gave a lot of insights which can be very helpful.
Listed below are five concerning issues children shared.
1. Words Attack
Children feel they would like to be addressed in loving and kind words. Sometimes, words used by parents could be innocent and without the intention to hurt. But the tone makes it come across as rude and accusatory to children. Statements like ‘You don’t listen to me!’ or ‘You don’t do your work on time!’ leaves no scope for explaining. When parents use words like ‘if’ to start the statement, e.g. ‘If you don’t do this…..’ makes the child feel like he’s been threatened.
2. Parents instruct a little too much
Children are been constantly told what to do and what not to do. They are subjected to never-ending instructions like ‘Do this’, ‘Come here’, ‘Speak softly’, etc. It makes them feel they are bombarded with orders all the time. This averts them from wanting to have any conversations with their parents.
3. Let’s speak to children, while they’re listening
Some parents start speaking even without having the child’s attention. By the time the poor child realises he’s being talked to and requests to repeat things, parents get angry.
4. Parents are not very attentive listeners themselves
Children have noticed, parents don’t talk to each other to have a conversation. They rarely listen and often talk back. Their conversations often lead to statements like, ‘You never let me complete!’ or ‘You never listen to me!’. In a way, it gives the children the freedom to be poor listeners themselves.
5. Parents don’t motivate children to talk and listen
Parents with their busy and tiring schedules, don’t persuade children to open up to them. Children tend to take this as a granted permission to avoid talking to their parents. This has led to an increase in the communication gap between them.
Like the saying goes, there’s a solution to every problem. ‘Wow Parenting’ believes there should always be more solutions than problems. Listed are solutions that can be applied to more or less all the problems when children refuse to listen.
1. With changing times, a change of perspective can help. Today hoping children to become totally obedient is an unrealistic expectation. To become friends with them should be the goal. An openness to their thought process can be helpful. Instead of giving instructions, asking for their viewpoint can break the ice. Involving children in conversations by taking their opinions and ideas makes them feel their thoughts are being valued.
2. Parents can practice expressing more. Shouting and repeating instructions annoys the child. Instead of telling them firmly with a kind voice what is expected from them should put the message across effectively.
3. Prior to having a crucial conversation request children for their undivided attention. This will prompt them to focus on the conversation. It will help them register parents points with clear understanding.
4. A parent’s natural instinct is to give instructions. The trick is to understand how children want to be instructed. Parents can convey their concerns about situations with a smile. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders. This will help in building a healthy conversation.
5. Avoid over-instructions. Let the children pick and choose as per their likings. Being constantly instructed about every single thing gets exhaustive for the child. The more the details, the more the child chooses to overlook. Speak less but always speak with love.
It’s natural for parents to want to protect children from pain and hurt. Major conflicts with growing up children can be avoided by applying the ideas mentioned. Showing children ways to navigate through life’s hurdles and googlies with love and kindness, can be the right launch-pad for them.