While every child responds differently to being asked to do something, parents alike know the struggle of getting their child to listen. One thing parents may be overlooking is how their behaviour and communication may directly impact on a child’s response.
Here, Dr Anna Cohen provides advice to parents on how they can adjust their communication style to support children to listen and learn to cooperate without the battle or tantrum.
There may not be a magical solution to getting your children to listen, but understanding how your child replicates your own behaviour will be the key to gaining their cooperation. Rather than controlling your child’s behaviour think about how you can guide them toward more considerate behaviour through demonstrating model behaviour.
Good communication involves actively listening to what is being said to you, and this goes both ways. Children want their parents to listen. Gaining their corporation will come down to leading by example. Children whose feelings are respected are much more likely to model the same behaviour.
Children are busy beings who have a lot on their mind so something a parent may ask them to do may be considered a low priority on their list. Knowing how to first gain their attention and have them take action on what is asked of them will come from developing a climate. You want to cultivate a climate that encourages children to cooperate from their own sense of ethical action, rather than the need for you as a parent to regulate their behaviour. For the most part your child will know what they are supposed to do, it may just take a gentle reminder to guide them toward it.
Dr Anna Cohen Sydney’s leading Clinical Child Psychologist offers advice to help parents adjust their own behaviour and support children to listen and learn to cooperate.
• Active listening. Children want their parents to listen as much as we want them to. While it is from a good place, parents often talk too much, asking questions and giving advice. However, it can mean that children don’t turn to us when they have something important to say. Taking on a listening role may not come easily, but using empathy to understand their viewpoint will give them time to explore a problem, and often find a solution while also feeling heard. There is no point
shouting instructions from another room, instead go to your child, make eye contact and ask them in person.