Myles/Charley (insert your child's name), dinner is ready - go wash your hands and come down to eat. Nothing.... Did you hear me? Dinner is ready, let's go! Nothing... Myles/Charley, stop colouring now and come down for dinner! Nothing... If you don't come down right now, then there's no TV and no dessert tonight!
Or how about...
Don't touch the papers on the kitchen table. I turn around for a second and when I turn back, papers are scattered all ove the table. I said don't touch, which part of "don't touch" did you not understand??? Only to have the same thing repeated with something else 5 minutes later.
You get the picture. I have to say, repeating myself 100 times over is driving me crazy. Of course my fustration is mounting and so when this now happens, I've begun snapping. I don't want to be be snapping AND it doesn't appear that the snapping is helping anyway. I've also tried the good old "If you're not going to listen, you're going for a time out" and "If you're not going to listen, I'm going to take away XYZ". Nada. I need a new tactic! Or two or three.
So first off, I wanted to check how common this problem actually is. Check out this tidbit I found: "Most children don't listen much of the time. In fact, Sandra Rief, a noted educational specialist, reports research that suggests children only retain about 25% of what they hear as compared to 50% of what they see and hear. In parenting, as well as teaching, there is too much reliance on talking as the primary means of getting children to learn new behaviors or follow the rules."
I also found this very interesting piece on Ezine Articles about what we might be doing wrong:
1. We talk too much. Loving parents want to do the best for their children so they feel if they tell them all the stories of how they struggled and how they know all the answers, the child will give up and do what we ask. This method of communication is lecture, advise, order and threaten.
2. We talk too loud. We feel that if we raise our voice they will respond. Actually, it is the opposite. When you speak softly, they have to pay attention to what you are saying.
3. Every conversation is a criticism. The parent feels the way to motivate is through blame, shame, name-calling, sarcasm or jokes in order to put the child down.
4. We don't listen when they speak. Good communication in a family, workplace or world is built on mutual respect. That means we allow others to express their beliefs and feeling honestly, without fear of rejection.
5. They have trained us to nag. Why should they pick up their jacket the first time you tell them if they know by experience that you will yell 6 times and then do it yourself?OK, I see the point. Perhaps I'm making a few of those mistakes. When I review this list, I know that I hate being yelled at, interrupted and being nagged, so why wouldn't they? I know I can definitely keep trying to talk more in the positive. It's just that it comes more naturally to state what you don't like about the behaviour rather than turning it around and finding a positive way of saying it. But if it works and it benefits my kids, it's well worth the effort.
Here's another solution suggested by iVillage:
I suggest parents teach their kids to listen using the A, B, C and D's.
A. Ask in a no-kidding-around tone of voice
B. Be clear and specific
C. Communicate your request in six words or less
D. Don't make not listening an option
I will definitely be giving all of these tips a try. Albert Einstein did say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. So I obviously have to make a change. At the end of the day, all I really want is a peaceful home, and a peaceful home includes children who listen. I'll let you know how it goes...
For instance, if you ask the kids to get ready for bed and they tune you out, say, "Bedtime. Please, turn the television off." Don't walk away and hope the kids will do as they're told. Stay with them until it's done. Turn off the television yourself if needed, and just thank the kids for listening. Don't yell, don't threaten the kids, just do it. Be creative. Getting ready for bed can be turned into a game, or you can give the kids motivation to cooperate by saying, "Go get ready for bed and choose the book you want me to read."