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Kids misbehave all the time? You find yourself screaming all day long? You say everything ten times and the kids still don’t listen? You feel as though your kids are running the show?
Your children have already learned — bright little things aren’t they? — that when you say something they really don’t have to listen. Maybe not until you start screaming. Maybe not until the screaming reaches a certain level.
You want to change things?
Here is a three-step approach that WORKS!
1) THINK BEFORE YOU TALK. Engage your brain before you engage your tongue.
This suggestion sounds too simplistic to work but it does. Most of us react too quickly to, say, a misbehaving child. We say things like, “If you hit your brother one more time, I’ll kill you!” or “You’re grounded for the whole year!” The first statement said in anger and frustration doesn’t help your angry child learn there are better ways to deal with anger than fists or threats. Both statements exaggerate and smart kids quickly learn that an exaggerated statement from Mom or Dad means absolutely nothing.
All you have to say is, “The rule is NO HITTING! You say it quietly but firmly and swiftly apply an appropriate consequence. Separate a young child from the other children. Put an older child in time-out.
2) USE THE FEWEST NUMBER OF WORDS POSSIBLE. Parents use too many words when they talk to their children. They explain too much. They reason too much.
“If you were your baby sister would you want your big sister to hit you? Wouldn’t it be frightening to have this great big girl come up to you and hit you? What would Samantha say if she could talk? I bet she would say something like ‘My big sister doesn’t realize what a sweet little baby sister I am and when I’m bigger I’ll love her so much if she doesn’t hit me when I’m little.’ ”
Big sister is now as bored listening as I am typing all this but I quote an actual dialogue I overheard at the mall recently.
All that mother had to say was, “Don’t hit the baby!” And I would have added, “If you hit the baby again we will leave the mall. No shopping for toys today.” And carry out this simply and briefly stated consequence.
3) SPEAK SOFTLY. Most homes today are noisy. The TV is on, the dishwasher is running, the air-conditioner is humming. Many of us are in the habit of yelling from another room to get someone’s attention. We expect people to talk loud to be heard over the hubbub.
Fool your kids. Say what you have to say quietly, almost in a whisper, so they have to strain to hear you.
“It’s rude to grab toys. Ask your brother nicely or you will get a time-out.”, said in a soft but firm voice will gets the offending child’s attention. In order to be sure the child actually hears you, before you start to speak get close to the child, put a hand on the child’s shoulder, and use the child’s name first.
If you have been a parent who says the first thing that comes into your head, says it verbosely, and in a loud voice, the transformation these three tactics will provide will surprise your children. This means YOU will get their attention. Hey, I can’t tune her out anymore–she really means it.
If you also follow through with the consequences, you will be amazed. Now that you have changed, your kids will too. No, they won’t turn into little angels but the number and intensity of misbehavings will decrease.
Now you are an in-charge parent who knows how to talk to your kids the right way. And now your kids will listen.
For more information on the subject of talking right, check out my book, ParenTips, or click onto Master the ‘Effective Command’ ParenTip.
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