Help! Get my kids to listen & act, not fight me.

yellingHelp! I’ve turned into my mother!

Well it’s school holidays and the more the days go on, the more I find myself saying (yelling – let’s be honest) those age old phrases that our mother’s used to yell at us.

It starts out with – I don’t care who started it, both of you just stop fighting!,

Which is usually followed by – Go to your room, you are having 5 minutes time out!

To which I usually get the reply – NO! and the result is me picking up the party in question, walking them to their room, sitting them down on the floor, telling them they have 5 minutes timeout and then walking out and closing the door.

This will incite a terror of screaming and crying at my apparent abhorrent style of discipline from my children.

If you don’t already know, I suffer from depression and anxiety on a daily basis. Most days are good, but when the kids are on edge, it usually sends me that way too.

Because of this, I often wonder if I am the most horrible parent on the planet. Though I guess I can be reassured, that at these moments in time I am not the only one that thinks that.


At least it makes me smile to know that every mum I talk to about this feels exactly the same, and that I’m not crazy, I too just care about my kids and the people they are going to be.


So the discipline continues. And I hear from my husband the phrase I’m sure his father has used on him – Stop crying otherwise I’ll give you something to cry about! And whilst this is an idle threat, I did notice that our kids have become more defiant as they grown up because a lot of what we were

saying wasn’t being followed through.


As our kids learn more, they test our boundaries more. Push our buttons, and watch us explode. Having tactics in place, and repetition in rewarding their behavior has completely enabled us to change the way the kids are acting.


Here are a few tips to enabling your children to start listening and stop fighting your requests.

1. Get their attention.

Always wait before you have your child’s attention before speaking to them. Getting down to their level helps, and connecting with them by interacting with the task they are currently involved with helps build the rapport.


2. Acknowledge what they are doing.

Make a comment. That Lego house is awesome! Did you draw that all on your own? This is acknowledging respect for their activities as well as showing them you are interested in what they have achieved.


3. Ask for their attention.

You need to ask them to give you the same attention back. This could be as simple as asking them to listen or look at you for a minute. Wait until you have their full attention, look them in the eye and then begin talking.


4. Keep it simple.

When giving instructions, use as few words as possible. Too many descriptive or instructive words and you will lose their attention.

Don’t keep repeating yourself, if your child isn’t listening the first time, repeating the sentence won’t change anything.

It is time for a different tactic.


5. Think like a kid.

Try to see things from your child’s point of view. If they are playing, being asked to stop and complete a chore isn’t the most appealing thing to do. Give them a wrap up and say – ‘Can you come and give me a hand in 5 minutes once you have finished that?’


Staying calm is important, our children mimic our behavior as it is the way they learn how to interact with others. I often hear what we say to the kids repeated to each other when they are upset or worst of all – when they are playing ‘Mums and Dads’.

Remember, sometimes we really need to take the time to listen to our children. This is vital and will teach our children the importance of communication now and for the future.

Put down your phone, your tablet, and look at your child in the eyes when they talk to you.


If we want our children to listen to us, we need to listen to them too.




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