Episode #1 “How do I get my kids to listen to me?”
“I feel like I walk around all day barking orders. ‘Pick up your shoes, turn off the TV, finish your homework, clear your plate.” I’m exhausted from the constant negotiating and push back I seem to constantly get and want to know, how the heck do I get my kids to listen to me?” Christina
The Parent Education Answer
For 30 minutes a week, I teach English to kids who are new to the country. Getting kids to listen is to me is very important and the technique is quite simple. You crouch down to their level, use very slow and deliberate speech, look them in the eye, make sure you are speaking clearly and repeat yourself if necessarry, check with them to make sure they understand, and ask them to repeat what you said after you.
If Christina was to do this, I’m sure her kids would listen to her. It would be hard not to! But what Christina is really asking, is how do I get my kids to OBEY me?
The Life Coaching Answer (how to make actual, long lasting change)
I think the reason Christina is feeling so frustrated and exhausted is because she has the belief that “They should just do what I say.” When we have the thought “They should do what I say AND THEY AREN’T,” we get frustrated and annoyed. When we feel this way, we nag, complain, maybe even avoid asking for what we want because we assume we aren’t going to get it. When we act this way, we aren’t coming from our leadership energy. Kids are wired to follow a calm, confident leader. When we have the thought: “they should obey me,” and they aren’t doing it, we lose our confidence and authority. The kids pick up on our wimpy, angry energy and are more likely to ignore and avoid us.
If we want to change this dynamic, we need to question the thought “They should just do what I say.” Is it true? Are you absolutely sure it’s true that kids should obey every time, immediately, without negotiation? Try changing your thought to something that doesn’t argue with reality, but accepts the actual situation instead.
“I’m so glad I have a normal kid who doesn’t want to do chores.”
“I can trust my kid to ignore me the first time I ask.”
“She is showing me I’m not in my calm leadership energy.”
The times you feel calm and in your leadership energy is when to request something from your child. Look her in the eye, slow your speech, and ask for what you want.
The problem arises when we ask our kids to do things SO THAT WE CAN FEEL GOOD. We think that if they would step up and do what we are asking then we could feel relaxed, calm, and appreciated. When we do this, we are putting our ability to feel good into the hands of our disobedient child. Not a great plan! Instead, take responsibility for your emotions first and don’t wait for your kid’s obedience in order to feel the way you want to feel.
When we take responsibility for our own emotions, we have more control and increase our chances of getting what we want.
The energy of leadership comes from our posture, voice tone, facial expression, and eye contact. The thoughts we think are what effect these things. If we think, “My kids will comply when I’m in my calm, leadership energy” and we focus on the things we have control over (posture, voice, feelings, etc.) we are more likely to get what we want. If we focus on things we don’t have control over (what our child says, does and feels) we feel yucky and are less likely to get what we want.
Today’s Supermom Krpytonite: EXPECTATION (the secret energy drain you might not know is making you tired). Listen to the story about my daughter on Halloween and how stressed out I became with the innocent thought: “This supposed to be fun.” Align your expectations with reality to help you feel at peace with any situation.
Today’s Supermom Power Boost: Decide ahead of time how you want to feel. Don’t put your ability to feel good, in the hands of your child. Take responsibility for how you want to feel BEFORE negotiating with your kiddo.