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What Do I Need You to Do?

One of the common parenting problems that we encounter is "My kids don't listen to me." Whether it be chores, homework, bedtime, mealtimes, or just getting out the door--we've all had those moments where our children are just not responding to us! There are a few things we can do to begin to remedy this situation. I will begin with one of the easiest: Tell your children what it is you would like them to do.

Now...many parents look at me then as if I didn't understand the problem. "I tell them what to do! They don't listen!" I do understand, but I ask that you look closely at the way you are telling. In my discussions with parents I hear many times that parents continuously tell children to "stop running" (and the child runs), "don't jump on the couch" (and the child jumps), "don't hurt your sister" (and the child hits). Upon closer examination, we can see that none of those directions actually told the child what to do. They should have heard something more along the lines of " walk in the house, please", "sit on the couch" and "you are building with your sister". When we pause to think about what we would like to see, we can give a clear direction to our children--telling them exactly what to do. When we leave out what to do, we are not providing a direction. Tell them what to do! Make sure it's a positive behavior you'd like to see. Make sure you praise it when you see it happening.

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