Struggling with Listening?


Our children are sensitive creatures who may be experiencing their own personal issues and as a result, this could be affecting your child’s behaviour and listening skills. Is our child being bullied? Know the symptoms.

We have all been there. The constant reminders, the arguing, the nagging, it’s all too much.

But I hate to break it to you folks, part of the problem is you.

So, let’s try avoid the 10 minute crap out session. Let’s achieve action from our children and get them to listen.

Why Is Listening A Good Thing In Our Books?


  • Listening carefully is how you gather information.
  • Listening effectively builds strong relationships.
  • Listening properly shows respect.

Connect Before You Direct:

Before giving your child directions or lay down the law, it is important to connect to your child. This is achieved by squatting down to your child’s level in order to achieve eye-to-eye contact. This teaches your child to look someone in the eye should and shows confidence.

Your Role In Their Listening:

Your target market so to speak, is your child and they are the listener.

As listeners, we tend to feel the need to be settled, or at least feel like we are settled before receiving some sort of information or news. Your child is no different. They need to be settled too. Before solving a conflict or providing your direction, you need to restore emotional equilibrium – all things being equal, otherwise you are wasting your time. A child cannot absorb and process information when they are an emotional wreck.

Practise What You Preach:

Don’t try and solve or stop a tantrum by having one of your own. The more your child yells, the more you should tell them that you will only engage with them once they stop what they are doing. This will teach your child that this type of behaviour is unacceptable. The more you refuse to engage, the more you disarm you child. Remember, they are looking for you to react. You need to rig the game.

The One Word Rule:

The 10 minute crap out sessions about why your son/daughter didn’t take their plate to the sink, makes you feel good or at least like you’re achieving something, but you aren’t. Kids tend to switch off nowadays and getting through to them is seemingly quite difficult.

Use one word to jog your child’s memory: e.g Plates!

Your child will be able to link “plates” to their chore of having to walk their and neatly stack their plates without you having to say another word.

If you can say it in one word, Do it!

Empower Your Child:

Children feel the need to exercise their free will, which is why they often do exactly the opposite of what we ask them to. (Frustrating, I know).

But rather than coming down on them for doing something you feel was wrong, empower them and open their eyes to the consequences and or benefits of carrying out the requested task.


The Situation: your child is forever leaving the milk out.

The Old Reaction: Crap out session/”put the milk away”.

Solution: “My darling, the milk spoils when it isn’t in the fridge (Provide knowledge and empower, allow them to make the decision) and you won’t have milk for your breakfast then.

The child will usually get up and put the milk away – no questions asked.

The When And Then Rule:

When you have brushed your teeth, then you can watch some TV”. “When your homework is finished, then you can play outside”.

The word “when” automatically implies expected obedience. Avoid using the word “If” as it suggests your child has a choice in the matter. This opens the door to negotiation and possible arguing.


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Heads Up…

Your children are no different to you – they are simply the miniature version of you and they need the same things we do.

We are all guilty for saying “A little heads up would have been nice”, well, that is what our children are trying to say but don’t know how.

Never walk into a room and demand for something to be done i.e turn the TV off or just tell them to tidy up their room with no warning whatsoever. Remember, this leaves the child feeling devastated as they were heavily engaged in a particular actively they enjoy and without notice, it was ‘taken’ away. The result of such actions usually result in a tantrum, tears or arguing.

State your expectations from the beginning. Stand your ground and don’t engage in counter offers but rather state the task that needs to be completed and follow it with the reward but never just walk into a room and say “That’s enough TV” and then proceed to turn the TV off, rather prep your children before hand. “You have 30 minutes to watch TV and then I am coming in and turning it off”


“Mom can I watch some TV?”

When you’ve done your teeth, put your PJs on and your slippers,(the expectation is stated) then you may watch some TV for 30 minutes (The reward and heads up) and then I am turning it off”. (Note the When and Then Rule)

Once you engage in the “No you’ve watched enough TV” battle. It is game over and the arguing and tension will only increase from there – avoid this at all costs.

Shine Some Light On Their Feelings:

Feeling, feelings, feelings. Everyone has them and they cannot be avoided.

Be your child’s friend. A Pal. Their Buddy they can chat too – even when they are pissed off at you.


Your child throws a temper tantrum.

Instead of either:

  • Shouting at your child.
  • Yanking them out the store.
  • Giving them a smack.

Pin point their feelings to help them process the feeling and effectively work through it. Teach your child it is okay to feel these feelings but it isn’t okay how they channel it.

But rather…

Create the shock factor. 9 times out of 10, your child is expecting you to snap. In fact, they can almost guarantee it as they know exactly what buttons to push.

Time to rig the game baby.

Face your crying (e.g) Child and say “I see something has really upset you because you and I want you to be a big girl/boy, wipe your tears away and let’s find a way forward”. Your child will be so shocked.

Woah..One Thing At A Time:

It is important to remember that your child’s attention span is as long as a goldfish. There are so many distractions and noises that children need to learn to stop, focus, listen, think and action and it is important that you don’t overwhelm them with too many tasks at once.

The Five Steps:

Stop: Stop whatever they are doing, holding and touching.

Focus: Child needs to engage in eye contact, stand still and face you. (Very important that this is done from an early age as e.g eye contact shows confidence).

Listen: Your child needs to actively engage with you. Keep the message short. Use simple language. Ask your child to repeat what you’ve said.

Think: Ask your child to pause for a moment and ask him/her to think about the action/chore you have asked them to complete. This makes sure that there is no room for miscommunication and it gives them an opportunity to double check with you.

Action: Allow your child to complete the single task. Follow up on the task and then provide positive affirmations after. This encourages your child to be better in the future.

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