How to talk so your child will listen is one of the most frequent questions that parents ask. The power struggle between parent and child occurs on many different levels; and one of the biggest challenges that parents face is learning how to get their child to respond the way they’d like him to.
Children, for the most part, do not want to disregard their parents. They just want to feel understood. They want to be heard. And they want to know that their parents are on their side – fighting for them, not against them.
Many parents have unintentionally become responsible for their child’s “deafness” towards them. By screaming, yelling, nagging, lecturing, and piling.
If you are having a difficult time getting your child to listen to you, take a step back and examine your behavior when speaking to your child. This reflection is the first step in working towards a better way.
Practical Tips for How to Talk So Your Child Will Listen
There are also some practical tips which can help you learn how to get to your desired result – a child that listens – without all the frustration you currently endure. Using these best practices, you can learn how to talk so your child will listen.
Use a calm tone. It not what you say, it’s how you say it. Never has a phrase been truer than when you are communicating with someone – particularly with a child. If you use a calm, engaging tone, your child is more likely to respond favorably.
Raised voices – yelling and/or screaming – will not yield a positive outcome. Children are likely to retreat within and tune out the “noise.” Speak calmly and respectfully as you talk so your child will listen and it gives you a chance at being heard by your child.
Use Fewer Words if You Want to Understand How to Talk So Your Child Will Listen
Say what you mean clearly, and succinctly, in as few words as possible. Just like the people at the office could care less how smart we think we sound when using big words that require a dictionary to understand, our children are even less impressed when we speak in run on sentences which seem to have no end. Keep it short and sweet and they may actually tune-in.
Only give one task at a time so your child will listen. Bombarding a child with 100 things to-do at once is a one-way ticket to failure. No matter what age your child is – toddler to teen – giving one task at a time makes it easier on both you and your child. Try this method the next time chores need to be done, rather than feeling like you don’t know how to talk so your child will listen because they forgot everything after task one.
Provide step-by-step instructions. It is hard to remember someone’s specifications, so imagine a child trying to guess all the requirements you’d like them to do – for chores, for preparations to depart, etc – it’s just not going to happen. Instead of the annoyance at your child’s inability to meet your (unspoken) standards, tell them exactly what you want, how you want it, and when and this is one of the best ways for a parent to understand how to talk so your child will listen.
Use honest emotions. Let your child know how you feel when they don’t listen to you. Children want to make their parents happy. They want to make us feel good. And they understand how it feels when that doesn’t happen. So, relate to them from an emotional place of honestly asking them to do something for you. Rather than ask how to talk so your child will listen, say how I can relate to my child and build a connection.
Pay attention. Many times there are other things going on with a child who is consistently disregarding their parents. Pay attention to your child and what is going on in their life so you are aware of any potential issues that are impacting him. Your child knows you care because you have taken the time to learn how to talk so your child will listen.
Talk to your child, not at him. Communication is a two-way street; and with children, it is very important to establish that ground early on. Make your child a part of the communication process. Ask how he feels. Validate and discuss his concerns or fears. And establish trust. This openness will lead your child to want to hear what you have to say, because he knows you genuinely care about his feelings too.
Model respectful listening. If you want your child to listen respectfully the best way to achieve this is by showing him how it’s done. So, let your child see you listening to others in a respectful way so that he will model that behavior when interacting with you.
All children go through their various stages and there will be times where listening to parents is not their priority. However, establishing open communication early in the parent-child relationship and making taking the time to foster a collaborative communication environment Knowing how to talk so your child will listen will go a long way to seeing the results that you desire: a child who listens.
Carin Kilby Clark is a mother of three, parenting expert, and the founder of Clue Consulting, LLC. As The Mommyhood Mentor, Carin works with moms – showing them how to stress-less and live joyous mommyhood. Clark is an expert in how to talk so your child will listen.