How to Get Kids to Listen! (Part 1)

Our kids are pretty good most of the time, right? Well, maybe if they’re in the terrible twos or terrible teens, you don’t think so. But every child refuses to listen some time or another. So today I want to talk about strategies that really work for how to get kids to listen!

how to get kids to listen

How you can turn your child from rebellious and resentful, to happy and helpful!

So to discuss this today I’ll be looking at a book series called, How to Talk So (Little) Kids Will Listen.

It’s the sequel to How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk.

And I read the first book and loved it…This second book just came out by the original author’s daughter. What big shoes to fill, right? I’m in the middle of reading this sequel now, and there are so many helpful tips in it that I had to share what Joanna Faber has taught me so far!

First of all, I should mention that of course children need different discipline and parenting strategies depending on their age. Telling a two-year-old, “You’re being disrespectful and I don’t have time for this right now,” is obviously not going to make much of an impact.

Similarly, try to trick your eight-year-old into doing a chore by making it “fun,” and he might catch on to you.

But all’s fair in love and war, right?

Sometimes parenting feels like a bit of a mix of both!! But of course, always the first one. Anyway, I’m sure when I said, “Trick him into making chores fun,” your eyes widened a little bit, like…”How do I do that??” Or maybe you feel like that would be kind of wrong and not genuine.

Personally, I don’t feel like that, because the chore has to be done…but very small kids don’t live in this same reality of “MUST” do and “MUST NOT” do.

So really, what the book How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk is about is: meeting them on that level. Kids don’t start to gain hypothetical or conditional thinking, meaning, “If I do this, THEN this will happen…” and truly understanding consequences for an action, as well as ability to truly empathize with others by seeing themselves in the other person’s shoes…until they are ages 10 to 12. At least, that’s how it is according to the famous historical child psychologist Carl Jung.

So that means, tricking them into making chores FUN is the best and only way to get the desired outcome.

What are some examples of how to do this? Joanne Faber says…

Let’s say your child doesn’t want to put her sock on. Instead of getting upset at the three-year-old, which won’t work because she doesn’t understand why she SHOULD no matter how much you lecture her…Make the sock into a puppet and say, “Hey, I’m an empty stock, I’m so sad. Why don’t you put your sock on?” Then, she’ll think that’s super funny and I guarantee he’ll do it!

Or, instead of telling your child to hurry up and get to the car, ask him HOW he wants to get to the car. This gives him a choice instead of a command. Ask him, do you want to walk forward to the car or backwards to the car?

Even though this doesn’t seem like much of a choice to us grown-ups, to a child who doesn’t have a whole lot of agency in everyday life, like at school…and feels like they’re just being told what to do all the time…will totally welcome this!!

The book How to Talk So (Little) Kids Will Listen really put things in perspective for me that since little kids don’t quite have the same judgment and abilities yet that older children do. You can’t treat them and discipline them the same way, since they just won’t understand! But I know this makes it sound like I don’t support discipline at all, which is not true. It just has to be done the right way.

And that’s what I’m going to talk about in part TWO of this blog post.

So stay tuned if you want to hear the other side of this!!

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