My son does not listen to me. Whenever I ask him to get dressed, set the table or do anything, he ignores me. Yesterday, he was playing in the driveway as I was pulling in. I asked him to move and he just continued to play. We always end up yelling at each other. What else can I do?
There are many ways in which we can gain cooperation from a child who “does not listen”
When dealing with people, children as well as adults , it is important to remember that nobody likes being told what to do, or how to do it. Direct commands like- “brush your teeth”, “eat your breakfast”, “set the table” or “go on a diet”, will elicit thought or responses such as “Don’t tell me what to do”, or “leave me alone.” This often leads straight into a shouting match. Independent minded adults and children (some like to call these children difficult) have an especially hard time overcoming their aversion to direct commands.
According to “How To Talk So Kids Will Listen” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, parents should avoid giving direct commands, thereby avoiding unnecessary conflict with your child.
Two helpful skills are giving information and describing the problem:
“Move your stuff off the kitchen table”
“Your school folder is on the kitchen table”
Describe the problem:
“Breakfast is being served-anything left on the kitchen table can get ruined.”
“Pick up your pajamas”
“There are pajamas on the floor that need to be picked up.”
Describe the problem
“Pajamas that are on the floor means more work for me. More work for me, means that we won’t be getting to your playdate on time.”
Using these skills when speaking to children allows them to think clearly about what needs to be done without them experiencing that instinctual reaction of “don’t tell me what to do” that results from direct commands. They are able to listen better and they can comply more often.