Do you find yourself asking your children to perform particular activities or engage in specific behaviors without getting any results? Are you annoyed because you asked them to listen but they don’t? Learn three parenting techniques for getting your children to listen without shouting.
Today, we’ll look at how to persuade your child to pay attention the first time you ask them to do anything. This is a challenge that many parents face!
How many of us find ourselves repeating the same command to our children two, three, or five times before they appear to pay attention? It’s aggravating, but it’s also potentially hazardous! What happens if your child runs out into the street as a car approaches? When you say “STOP,” they must stop the first time you say it, or it will be too late the second time.
It might be difficult to get your children to listen when you first approach them, but it doesn’t have to end in shouting. There are three variables I’ll explain, and if you start using them, they’ll help you minimize (or, better still, eliminate) the number of times you feel compelled to shout at your children.
The following steps will assist you in helping your children listen for the first time:
Parental Consistency, Warnings, and Parental Follow-Through.
This item is related to Parental Follow-Through. This metric measures how successfully you follow through on your warnings on a daily basis.
If you offer a warning of a Time Out on Monday and follow-through, that’s a success. Unfortunately, if you don’t keep it up on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and so on, it won’t help you get your kids to listen to you without shouting.
You must be constant in your consistency!
To educate your children that Mommy means business when she issues a warning, you must follow through on a regular basis.
When you give your child a “warning,” you’re telling them that if they don’t modify their present behavior, they’ll face a certain consequence. The issue with “warnings” is that parents often fall into the trap of issuing repeated warnings or warnings that aren’t linked to specific behavior.
As a general guideline, you should only provide ONE caution to your child, and that warning should be extremely precise.
Consider the following examples:
Example # 1 of a Warning:
Kelly is running around the house with a ball. “Kelly, stop doing that,” Mommy says. Kelly goes on. “Kelly, I told you to stop!” Mommy exclaims. Kelly is still going strong. “Kelly, stop that or you’re going to be in trouble!” Mommy exclaims, raising her voice even higher. Kelly is still going strong. “I told you to stop!” Mommy screams as she snatches the ball away. Why don’t you pay attention to what I’m saying?!?!”
This is a classic depiction of what many parents will go through.
Mom gives Kelly three warnings before implementing the penalty in this case. Her final warning is equally ambiguous as to the severity of the consequences. Parents who provide numerous warnings are more likely to produce children who do not heed the first time they are given an instruction.
Children are extremely intelligent; they are physiologically programmed to learn behavioral patterns from their caretakers.
As a result, it doesn’t take children long to figure out how many warnings their parents will issue before they must take them seriously.
Furthermore, the cautionary statements are ambiguous. They don’t inform Kelly what kind of behavior she has to quit. Our children are masters at finding loopholes in our home regulations.
In counseling, I’ve heard children say things like, “I thought you wanted me to quit leaping.” I had no idea you didn’t want me to toss the ball anymore.” To avoid this, be precise in your warnings to increase the probability that your kid will follow your instructions.
Example # 2 of a Warning:
Kelly is running around the house with a ball. “Kelly, stop throwing the ball in the house or I’ll take the ball away,” Mommy warns. Kelly is still going strong. “Because you were tossing the ball about in the house and you didn’t follow my orders when I asked you to stop throwing the ball, I’m taking the ball away,” Mommy says as she takes the ball from Kelly.
Mom, on the other hand, just gives one warning in Example #2. The warning is also extremely explicit about the type of behavior that the mother is looking for and the consequences that will follow.
When a child grows up knowing that he only receives one warning, he is far more likely to follow his parent’s instructions the first time they are given. The child understands that he will not be given another chance. This example also demonstrates parental commitment, which is a critical component of effective discipline.
Have you ever told your child, “If you don’t stop XYZ, we’re going home,” or anything similar? “If you don’t start listening to me, I’m going to take your (fill in the blank) away for the rest of the week,” you may say. You may not have uttered these things yourself, but you almost certainly know someone who has. These remarks aren’t always negative. They’re just prone to parents who don’t follow through.
Are you really going to leave because your child is acting up if you just paid $200+ for your family to go to Disneyland or just finished ordering your dinner at a restaurant? Most likely not. Taking away items that you rely on to keep your child calm in new environments is the same thing.
When you give your child a warning and a particular punishment, you must be prepared to do exactly what you said you would do! This is one of the most common pitfalls that parents I deal with fall into. They threaten repercussions that they will not be able to carry out.
This idea also applies to rewards. If you tell your child that particular behavior will result in a specific reward, you must also follow through on that promise. Failure to follow through renders your words worthless, and it commonly results in children who refuse to listen to their parents when they are attempting to punish them.
I’d also want to point out that everything I’ve just said can be achieved without shouting at your kids. Your child will begin to obey guidelines more quickly once they learn that they only get ONE warning. You will feel less anxious as a consequence, and you will be less inclined to shout.