Does this sound familiar? Have your kids not listened to you when you wanted them to? This is one of the most common issues that parents bring to me seeking help and support. Parents tell me that instead of listening to them, their kids sometimes ignore them, walk away, don't do what they are told, laugh at them, turn up the radio or TV, talk back to them or give them the silent treatment. Parents say that they feel tired, frustrated, upset and at times at their wits end. By the time they come to me they have tried everything without success. So what else is there to do?
Let's start from the beginning. Parents ask me to fix their kids so that their kids will listen to them. What we talk about in our initial conversation is something very, very different than fixing their kids. Something parents do not expect. I am going to share with you here a piece of this big, huge, enormous, gigantic, colossal difference. To prepare, sit comfortably, close your eyes, take a deep breath and get ready for it. Here it comes: we cannot fix (i.e., we cannot change) anyone but ourselves. You might be thinking right now: What? Is she crazy, out of her mind? Does she believe in no discipline and no boundaries with kids? Who is going to raise my kids if it is not me? This woman has lost it. I better stop reading because her illness might be contagious!
Having worked with parents, kids, teachers, administrators, psychiatrists, school specialists, etc., for almost ten years, I lose count of the times that kids were coerced to listen to adults and/or were supposedly being "fixed" so they would listen to adults - unsuccessfully. Why is that? I think that in my work with hundreds of kids I have discovered a vital link.
Kids won't really listen to an adult until they feel that that adult fully listens to them. They don't need to be fixed. What they need is to be intently listened to and truly heard. If we try to make them listen to us by raising our voice, giving them a look, coercing them, punishing them, feeling hurt by their behavior, feeling angry at them, etc., the last thing that we do is to listen to them. It is quite obvious - we can't even think about listening to them when the situation has gotten us in so much turmoil.
I propose that we come from a different place when being around kids that don't listen to us. Make an effort to listen to them first in a focused and understanding way. When we do that, we create an inviting environment where they feel welcomed and understood. By giving them our undivided attention as we listen to what they say, we are modeling the listening behavior we want from them. It becomes "do as I do" and not just "do as I say."
Think back to when you were a kid. If your parents and other adults in your life had really listened to you, how would that have influenced your life? The good news is that it is within your power to give that to your own kids!
I encourage you to listen to your kids intently and understandingly and see what happens. I would love to hear your success stories and comments. Please email me at [email protected] or for more information visit www.ourextraordinarykids.com
Why are some kids and teens self-confident and self-reliant and others are not? Orly Szerman is a published author, teacher and confidence coach. If you want to further develop your parent success and raise self-confident and self-reliant kids and teens, visit her website, http://www.ourextraordinarykids.com
Orly Szerman M.S., has been working with parents, kids, teens, families and couples for almost ten years as a therapist, certified parent coach, teacher and family advocate. She is the founder and president of Our Extraordinary Kids and a faculty member of Parent as Coach Academy. Orly created and designed innovative parent programs for STAR Education, which was selected as a model program by the White House and the U.S. Department of Education. She specializes in helping parents raise self-confident and self-reliant kids and teens. If you want to further develop your parent success and raise self-confident and self-reliant kids & teens visit her website http://www.ourextraordinarykids.com or email her at [email protected]