Wondering how to make your children listen to you more? Listening is a crucial communication skill that most parents struggle to teach their kids. Here are a few ways that will help you to get your kids to listen.
Listening shouldn’t be a power struggle
Most parents find it challenging to make their kids listen to them and obey their words. Not only can they be defiant and refuse to follow your instructions, it can even turn into a power struggle. As parents start to become more authoritative and raise their voices to make their kids react to them, the task becomes even more daunting. However, as parents, we need to understand that listening shouldn’t be a battle or a task. It is an essential communication tool that is important for healthy child development. We want our children not only to hear what we are saying but also to understand us and identify the emotions behind those words.
According to research, empathic communication is the key to successful interaction with your children. Empathy enables us to consider the impact of how we are communicating and what we are saying on our children. When we are aware of our own communication patterns, we will be better able to connect with our children and help to build their listening skills.
How parents speak matters
According to a 2013 study, the way we speak to our kids can significantly influence their learning & communication abilities. The study states “Our results reveal that caregiver talk has direct as well as indirect influences on lexical development.” Parents teach their children how they should talk, behave and act. And the way we talk directly influences their development. It affects whether they listen to us or not and how they respond & react to what we say. When we communicate in an aggressive manner, it compels children to behave in aggressive ways, like yelling back, acting out, ignoring their parents, or even being afraid. “More exposure to child-directed speech not only provides more models for learning words but also sharpens infants’ emerging lexical processing skills, with cascading benefits for vocabulary learning,” adds the study. But when parents speak in a softer, more passive manner using cautious words, this can make children ignore them. As parents become annoyed, they turn to aggression which can influence their kids’ mental health in the long run.
“Communication with children and adolescents is an area that requires special attention,” explains a 2016 study. This is why it is important that parents are assertive yet empathic in their communication in order to develop the right listening skills in their children. Being assertive can enable you to be clear, firm, confident, consistent yet warm and positive. Being empathic and assertive is the most effective way to make your children listen to you, understand you. It also helps you to listen to them as well. A 2006 study explains “Children learn more from what they see, modelled than from lectures. Parents of argumentative children often fail to see that the children are just mirroring their behavior.”
How to boost your kid’s listening skills
If you are still wondering how to get your children to listen to you consistently while maintaining a positive flow of communication, then here are a few effective tips that can help you get started.
1. Get your kid’s attention
Shouting at your kids from across the room will not get the job done and most parents are aware of this. If you want them to listen, then you need to make them pay attention to you. Instead of shouting orders, walk up to them, be at their physical level, make eye contact, create warm physical contact and build a connection before you speak. Understand what they are doing, ask them to pay attention, get rid of all distractions and tell them what you need to. Once you are made your point, you also need to listen to their response and acknowledge that as well.
2. Communicate clearly
Make sure to be precise when talking to your children. When you speak in a vague and unclear manner, kids can feel confused about your instructions. So to avoid unnecessary overcomplication, keep your sentences simple, short and to the point. It is also important that you do not speak too much, give too many instructions or repeat yourself constantly in case they are not paying attention or listening to you. Repetition can make your kids think that they are allowed to avoid your words as you will repeat them. In case they are not paying attention, focus on gaining your kid’s attention first.