Solutions to 3 Common Problems
Whether you’re a parent, teacher, or therapist, you’re going to come across these very common issues. Virtually anyone who has children or works with children will experience times when a child - or several children - don’t listen or become disobedient.
Simple, Sensible Solutions.
These great solutions can be used by anyone! And what’s more is that they can be used for anyone. Even adults will respond better when you use these tips. Maybe your spouse, employee, or friend is tuning you out. Try these solutions!
So if you’re struggling with ignoring, disobedience, tantrums, and just plain ole’ not listening – keep reading, because these tips are for you!
This is something that I’ve discussed many, many times and that is because connection is so important! One of the biggest reasons why children stop listening is because they are feeling disconnected from you.
There is evidence that shows that your communication with your child should be 80% connection! That leaves only 20% for demands. That’s very little room for demands, and what seems to happen very often is that we switch the two. We spend 80% of the time giving demands and 20% of the time making connections. We’re telling them to do their homework, wash their hands, clean their room, put on their shoes – but we’re not paired or connected with them. So we are left with a child who is disconnected and doesn’t want to listen.
The solution to disconnection is becoming more aware of your language and how often you are placing demands versus making connections. Eight out of ten times you speak to your child or student, it should be to build a connection. If they’re being disobedient, the first thing you should ask yourself is: “am I connected to my child?”
Spend more time on the floor, one-on-one, playing, discussing, building a rapport. Get down on their level, ask questions, and make those connections. At the end of the day, relationship-building should take priority over demands.
Kids get so overwhelmed so easily. Think about it: they’re in school all day. They’ve got demands from their teachers, demands from their friends, social demands – demands all over the place! Then, on top of that, their brains are developing and they’re learning all day. Even if they’re not in school, their brains are hard at work, soaking up everything. They’re learning about their environment and doing mental experiments all day. It’s exhausting!
So then they get home and we immediately place demands; take your shoes off, hang your coat up, do your homework. Then they shut down and stop listening.
Now let’s consider your overwhelm as well, as a parent, teacher, or therapist. You’ve worked all day, you’re mentally and physically tired. You still have 100 things to do. So when your child doesn’t listen and you’re already overwhelmed yourself, you become frustrated.
Now we have two overwhelmed, frustrated people. Who’s going to win? Nobody.
Be mindful of both your child’s and your overwhelm. When they’re not listening and you’re getting frustrated, just stop and take a step back. Think about their day. Think about your day. Maybe you both just need a breather to regain your energy before you tackle the demands. The coat can be hung up later. The homework can be finished after dinner. Maybe you can do something to help, but make sure to explain to them what you’re doing; “I see that you’re tired, so I’m going to hang up your coat for you this time”. This way they know that this isn’t something you’re going to do for them every day. They see that you’re being empathetic and understanding of their overwhelm. You’re not giving in to them, you’re simply cutting them some slack and saying, “hey, I see that you’re tired, let me help you with that today”. This also models empathy for your child. They see you being empathetic and helpful, and that sort of behavior will rub off on them as well. Win!
This isn’t something the kids do – it’s something we do, as adults. We tend to have the belief that all kids should listen all the time. I’m the adult, you’re the child, you listen the first time and do as I say – my way or the highway! This gets us into this rut that makes us inflexible. We stop being adaptive to our kids’ needs and forget that – guess what – they’re people! They’re human. They’re going to make mistakes, they’re going to be tired, they’re going to need a break every now and then. Just like us! We don’t want to be controlled all the time, and neither do they.
Learn to compromise. Sometimes we need to be a bit more flexible with kids. An easy way to do this and remain in “the adult” is to provide choices. Give them options and let them be a part of the decision-making process. After a long day of being told what to do, they need to feel empowered. For example, you could ask “do you want to take a bath now, or after dinner” or “which chore would you like to do before you watch TV”. It’s really that simple!
Did you enjoy these solutions? We share information like this and much, much more in our free community at facebook.com/groups/simplykids! We’d love to see you there!
Your behaviour guide and coach, Stephanie Wicker-Campbell, has been supporting families just like yours for almost fifteen years! Teaching special needs children and studying early intensive behaviour intervention for over six years laid the foundation for her work with Simply Kids. Grounded in behaviour science, Stephanie's passion for counselling and developmental psychology play a big role in her coaching programs. Defining success by the progress of her clients, her goal is to no longer be needed. So, get in touch and work her out of a job!