“My child does not listen to me!”
“I have to repeat the same instructions a hundred times and still it doesn’t get done!”
“I’ve given up. I just do all the work myself so I don’t get into arguments with my children.”
Is this your story? Do you find yourself getting stressed repeating instructions like, ‘brush your teeth’, ‘Do your homework’, ‘clean up your room’, or ‘go to bed’?
It can be really frustrating and stressful for parents! We often get into the pattern of telling our child to do something, then telling them again 10 minutes later, and again 30 minutes later when we notice that she still hasn’t done what we asked!
Your child has probably developed several strategies to put things off as long as possible like
- distract you by whining, bringing up something else she has to do right now (like watching the rest of her “favorite” TV program)
- starting an argument
- ignoring you
Since you are probably busy doing something, it’s easy to forget for a moment that she has not done what you asked. When you have to ask her again, you are just a little bit frustrated. The third time – you are angry, and a simple request becomes a source of tension and conflict.
Lets see how you can change this.. YES unbelievable but you can!
The following are simple steps to follow each time you ask your child to do something. They take just a little bit more time and attention at the first request, but will save time and frustration in the long run. With practice, they will become a habit. The results will be less frustration, anger, and stress for you and more respect, compliance, and self-discipline from your child.
- Decide in your own mind what you want the child to do and the time frame you will accept for her compliance – immediately, within 15 minutes, whatever.
- Get her attention. Begin with making eye contact. Don’t yell it from the kitchen. If you are busy in another room, ask the child to come to you before you make the request.
- Tell her specifically what you want her to do. “Go brush your teeth right this minute so you can get to school on time.”
- Watch to make sure she starts to do what you asked.
- Praise her for doing what you asked. (Don’t leave out this step!)
- If she does not begin doing what you asked or does not complete the task, then reconfirm, ask her “What did I ask you to do?”
- If she correctly tells you what you asked her to do, say, “That’s good, now do it.”
- If she does not do what you asked then – STOP THE WORLD – the child does not do another thing until she does what you asked.
- If the child begins to throw a temper tantrum or continues to avoid doing what you asked, put her in a short time-out. When she comes out tell her to do what you asked.
Don’t let it go or she will learn to avoid responsibility by causing uproar.