As a teacher of over ten years now, I know that there is a very fine line between being supportive and being firm with kids. Finding that balance is the secret to getting kids to listen to you. And the secret to getting to this place is understanding your child.
Sometimes the smallest changes in the way we communicate can make a big difference. This is exactly the case in this post. We will talk about ONE WORD that can turn a negative message into a positive discipline builder.
As a parent, you need to acknowledge your child’s feeling. And you need to set boundaries at the same time! Notice I said AND not but.
The word AND is the key. Adding it into the way you talk to kids can make lasting changes in the way kids listen to you. Let me give you some examples.
Instead of: Great job on your English assignment but you still have to bring your math grade up.
Choose to Say: Great job on your English assignment AND you still have to bring your math grade up.
Instead of: Johnny, it is late but you still need to do your HW
Choose to Say: I see that you are tired AND you still need to do your HW
Instead of: I received a phone call from your school today. Mrs Patterson called me and said you were very disrespectful. As a result you will have to …
Choose to Say: I know that you may be bored in Mrs Patterson’s class. She told me that you were not behaving well. And you need to show respect by…
In both examples above, you are giving your child the same instruction. The only difference is that the second one acknowledges their feelings, without changing your position.
These examples lead us to the secret formula of getting kids to listen and respect adults.
There is a simple but effective formula to get your kids to listen to you:
- LISTEN TO YOUR CHILD
- ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR FEELINGS
- SET BOUNDARIES
HOW TO TALK SO KIDS WILL LISTEN AND LISTEN SO KIDS WILL TALK that has been of tremendous help when learning how to communicate with kids. The book teaches how to use words effectively in order to change your child’s reaction. The focus of the book is to appreciate the child’s feelings while setting boundaries at the same time.
Parents are overloaded with information these days. They are many parenting books and often it is difficult to find the right one. If a parent could choose to have only one book to start with, I would recommend this one.
Even though the book is written for parents in general, it is used often with Suzuki music teachers. This is because of the positive discipline stressed in the book, as well as the focus on both teaching to a high standard but respecting the child’ feelings at the same time. This makes for wonderful parallels when parents are developing the habit of music practice. However, the lessons in the book apply to any situation.
Hearing your child, understanding their feelings, and then setting boundaries works very well with another age group…teenagers! We all know that during the teenage years children go through a lot of changes, some of them very difficult to handle from a parent perspective. I work a lot with students around this age. I have noticed especially with many of my 8th graders that if I provide an explanation of why I am asking them to do something, appreciate their feeling, and then STILL insist on it, I get a much better result.
In this respect the other book can be also helpful if you already have a teenager, or if you would like to prepare yourself for the changes that may occur during that age. HOW TO TALK SO TEENS WILL LISTEN AND LISTEN SO TEENS WILL TALK is another book from the same authors that would be a great resource.