On a rough day I’m the mom who yells at my kids and says, “Why don’t you listen?”
It’s not how I like to parent and it doesn’t make my kids listen. It just makes them ignore me. I think it makes them feel like they are bad, irresponsible, and disobedient. My kid’s work hard at doing the right thing and they don’t need me getting rough on them when they mess up.
I don’t ever want to make them feel bad about themselves. Yet I do when I just focus on their mistakes and correct them over everything they do wrong. This hurts their feelings and makes them frustrated.
My kids listen better when I turn mistakes into learning opportunities. They respond better when I don’t make them feel guilty. They change their behavior when I tell them why I didn’t like what they did. Both of my kids hear my words more clearly when I tell them what I would like them to do differently next time.
I’ve noticed that my kids will shut down if I yell “don’t” or “stop it”. They will cooperate if they are given choices. They like to be part of solving the problem when there is a problem. They usually need help in understanding what they should do and they need to know their options. Just telling them that they did wrong and don’t do it again doesn’t help my kids do it right the next time. They need direction.
At last kids do better when they feel better about themselves. When I ask my kids why they are acting out they express sadness and anger. Their upset because they don’t want mommy to be mad at them. When my kids feel empowered they will hear more clearly and pay attention.
Empowering kids is allowing them to make mistakes and learn from it. It’s encouraging them to keep trying and to feel loved even when they missed the mark. It’s given them a hand when they fall and catching them when they stumble. It’s believing that they have what it takes to do better and giving them another chance.
I’m learning that my kids need to make mistakes before they ever learn how to make better choices. Sometimes they don’t listen because they need to experience it for themselves. Kids will have moments in their life where they think they know it all.
I think the best thing we can do is let them fall flat on their face and be ready to hold them in our arms when they ask us for advice. It’s then that they might want to hear what we been trying to tell them all along.
I confess – this is all easier said than done. I’m an anxious mom who wants to protect. I have to constantly watch myself and make sure I’m not trying to control every move they make.
How do your children listen?