How to talk to your child so he or she listens?

By: Oluwatimilehin T. Ekundayo

Positive ways to interact with children’ that will make them say the truth

Ever wondered why some kids obey and listen to their parents and while some do not? It just seems like some are stubborn, disobedient and practically unruly? Feeling this ways makes me think there is a missing gap which shows you really can’t solve the puzzle yet.

Think further by seeing other children; you may have noticed the way their parents talk to them is total different compared to your approach. You may also wonder that while addressing kids, some parents shout or scream? Some parents seldom go as far as hitting their children while others cannot just stop nagging at their children’ sorry, all this can be frustrating.

Calm down and stop wondering; one fact you will not be explicitly told anywhere as a parent is that, your kids do not like to be ordered about. No child likes a nagging or an ever screaming parent.

Yes; no one likes to be nagged at, nobody does want to be yelled at and so children is no exception. Nobody likes to be looked down on and same is applicable to children.… But why?

It is because they are humans. They are just the smaller or smallest version of you. The same way you will have another person listen to you when you speak is the same way they want you to listen to them.

This article is set to unfold the intricacies of talking to your children so they listen. Meaning to give them instructions and they obey, to foster strong cordial relationship that in turn yield respect, in other words help them confide in you to always say the truth only in every situation.

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The following steps are to be considered when you want children to listen; it is a proven positive ways to interact with children’ that will make them obey your instruction and also say the truth.

How to talk to your child so he/she listen

  • See them as your friends 
  • Do not allow what other kids do affect how you relate to yours
  • Speak to them in a calm and understanding way; be gentle but firm
  • Give them good reasons why they should follow your decisions and not what they want.
  • Ask for their opinions and value feedback
  • View from their perspective
  • Keep the instructions simple
  • Keep away from nagging
  • Be considerate

father and daughter playing together
Dad playing with daughter so that when he talk the child listen

Let us look at it one after the other;

See your child as a friend

The first step is to talk to your kids as you will talk to your best friend (please note; this does not mean they will disrespect or look down on you).

 It just means that you get to bond with them effectively and efficiently. You discuss with a friend with open mind, so you should with your child, you exchange and give views with a friend, please do so with your child.

Foster good relationship, embrace interactive and open dialogue when and where necessary. Don’t let them see you as a semi god no one can approach like most fathers do. Been welcoming and easy to talk to will help them open up to you and see you as someone they can confide in.

Do not allow what other children do affect how you relate with yours

It is rather sad to say that many parents talk or communicate to their own child based on what they hear other kids do. Its’ a wrong concept to compare them with other. Don’t forget the fact that there is variation in human being. Each child are unique and individual entity. For instance, hearing that all kids waste food and then you begin to take stern actions on your child to make sure he doesn’t waste or act in suggested manner. Well, that’s being judgmental, meaning you are acting base on assumption and not fact. What if your child initially doesn’t?

You will allow your child see you as harsh and brutal.  Such a child cannot listen to any instructions in such manner and yield appropriately and if he/she does it will be base on fear and not respect. Instead, find out the truth base on fact, create time to sit with and talk it out. Discuss any issue or abnormality with them and sure they will respect and in turn obey your rule.

Fact to Note: Your own children are different from others’ do not judge them based on what others say or do. That will be gross injustice.

Be gentle but firm      

In other words, you will speak to them in a calm and understanding manner. No need to scream (although the tension may rise but you can calm your nerves remember children can be frustrating).

The fact is your tone and words go a long way in communicating with your child. If you scream, you make them angry and want to rebel (scream back). It is just a responsive trait.

But, if you can be calm (despite you think you should not), you will achieve more. This happens because they are humans too. The same way, adult will be unhappy when being screamed at, so are children too. If only you can understand that they are humans, they deserve to be handled with care.

The next time you want to talk to them, try talking to them in a calm way and note the difference in their reactions. Only let your words sink deep.

Give them good reasons to follow your instructions

Children are by nature, inquisitive and sensitive. They grow with so much curiosity and understanding of things. You have to give them concrete reasons when they ask questions if you really want them to follow your instructions.

Give them good reasons why they should do the things you want them to do. Why they should always say thank you or show courtesy. Asides, answering their questions you are also helping them expand their knowledge.

Don’t just answer their questions with a yes or no. You don’t have to be a rigid parent; give them good reasons why your decision is best for them. It helps them remember clearly and most importantly it shows they can always talk to you and you can in turn talk to them; like rubbing minds together. There will be no need to hide things.

Ask for their opinions or questions

Actually this is where many parents miss it. You have given instructions and reasons and all manner of decision for a child to follow, yet you do not want to ask for his/her opinions? You don’t want to know if they are fine with it? Well, that is dictatorship.

As little as your girl or boy is, they have something to say concerning all your instructions and decisions and that is because they can think’ they are rational.

Why most parents do not give their kids this opportunity is because they do not want to be opposed. Actually that is far from it. Asking questions or opinions does not always mean rebel.  It just shows that you want them to know that they have opinions and of course you respect it. Then you take it back to giving good and concrete reasons why all you said should be done or feels right.

You cannot do all of these and your child will grudgingly listen to you. It is all part of effective communication.

View from their Perspective

In our ‘25 Social skills every child should have’, we discussed about perspective; what it means in general.  How do you view from your child’s perspective? Because most times it can be hard seeing that they want to go against all you say better ask for their opinions.

Seeing through their perspective means you will understand what they mean and then calmly guide or lead them to the right path; you may oppose where necessary with mutual understanding’ not always but when need be. Sometimes, they make sense only if you are calm enough then you can see through.

Keep the Instructions Simple

And this means very simple and with clarity, a simple straight to point line one instruction at a time will enhance their understanding, they can simply deduce facts with. For instance, ‘‘Kate, can you help me with the sweeping? Thank you’’ not ‘‘Kate please help me with the sweeping and the dishes, and do not forget to mop the floor, dispose all the trash and when you are done, finish up your assignment’’ that’s ambiguity.

These instructions can be annoying and frustrating. Of course she will do them all but in anger especially if your tone is high. Just be specific about what they should do. If you want to keep to ethics don’t roll out instructions like this to children, such may weigh them down emotionally. One thing should be done at a time.

Keep Away from Nagging

Children can be very annoying. Shouting at them and always complaining will change nothing but get you annoyed at yourself.

Kids will not listen if you nag a lot. More so they mimic this when you are not their. Also they may pick up this act too. I want to be sure you are not teaching them the act too. In most cases, they will just do it so you don’t keep shouting. But deep down, they are not with you.  Instead try to stay calm to focus on the issue and respond to it and not react.

Learn to stay calm in the time of provocation. Remember they are your little friends.

Mom creating a conducive atmosphere to talk to her children so they listen

Be considerate

Understand that children have own lives to live. Children too sometimes get disturbed about many things such as school work, assignments and others. They cannot be the picture of perfect child you always imagined; at least not immediately. So all you need to do is try to understand them.This encompasses viewing from their perspective.

Giving them instructions during a time when they are passing through a challenge only seem like a disturbance and they may rebels. In time like this embrace them, show empathy, discuss what is bugging them and help them solve it. There after you can give them instruction and sure they will yield positively feeling a good turn deserve another.

Model it to them (good manners)

If you actually need them to listen to you, then you need to listen to them. You cannot teach a thing and do another. When they watch your response in listening to them, you encourage them to do same. Children easily do what they see you do than are taught. It is like practically putting the teaching theory into action.

Making use of the points mentioned above will help you talk to your children so they listen. It makes them value and respect you. They will also yield positively to your instructions if conducive atmosphere for effective parent child relationship is created and your child(ren) will trust and confide in you.

I hope you find it useful? Go ahead and share it with other parents. Sure you have learnt one thing or the other and desire to compliment with your opinion; kindly use our comment box below. And if you wish to get more of DflourishingKids update, feel free to use the follow us button at bottom left or you can simply use our subscriber form. Thanks for reading.


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