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If your child won't listen when you want to talk it out, what do you do?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

DD just turned 7.  She used to have horrible tantrums, we've pretty much ended those, using the techniques from The Explosive Child, but now I have a really hard time getting her to open herself to listening to me when we have issues.  She is going though tweenie attitude phase, and can be rude.  If I try to talk to her about it, she's dismissive.  Won't listen, rolls her eyes, puts her fingers in her ears, scampers off.  How do you handle this?  I try to tell her that I want to talk to her now so that I don't lose my temper later, but it's not working.  Any advice on how to get her to listen, so that she can learn to behave respectfully?  Or a way to correct her that might actually be heard an absorbed?  I want to talk to her and solve it--time outs don't really work with her (we used them for years) time in's or hugs don't seem appropriate, but maybe there's a gentle way to handle this kind of attitude and a way to build respect that I am missing?  All advice appreciated.

post #2 of 20
Best I do is try to talk later when the child is calmer. Not sure if it actually helps.

Like most people with self destructive behaviors, others telling them stuff seems to put up a wall. They either need to learn on their own or from a person maybe one step removed. Ie the favorite aunt or uncle.
post #3 of 20

The eye roll, attitude, etc. are her telling you that she can't processing anything about it now. They're a step up from a tantrum, but it still means that she's not able to think rationally at the moment. If she's emotionally upset, she's not going to be learning, so there's no benefit to talking about it "now".

 

I call my kids on the rude behavior "that sounded rude, please say it again", ignore the eye roll and talk to them after they've calmed down. The good news about 7 is that they can actually remember things they did yesterday (as opposed to a 3 year old), and so reflecting back sometimes takes the sting out.

post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

The eye roll, attitude, etc. are her telling you that she can't processing anything about it now. They're a step up from a tantrum, but it still means that she's not able to think rationally at the moment. If she's emotionally upset, she's not going to be learning, so there's no benefit to talking about it "now".

 

I call my kids on the rude behavior "that sounded rude, please say it again", ignore the eye roll and talk to them after they've calmed down. The good news about 7 is that they can actually remember things they did yesterday (as opposed to a 3 year old), and so reflecting back sometimes takes the sting out.

Good stuff. Just don't forget to talk it out. 

post #5 of 20

Trying Plan B= the collaborative problem solving process in the moment is very difficult and the best is to be proactive and do it when the kid is calm , better when there is a good vibe between you , maybe over a treat when there is good general chatting going on. I don't like using leverage but when a kid wants something I say - for sure I will and I would very much appreciate if we could just have a chat about  xxx if that's Ok with you. 

Sometimes , it helps to set a time in advance , so it is not a surprise for the kid.

 

We also should try to reassure a kid that we are not going to try and impose or force a solution , all we want is to hear out the kid, hear his perspective , what he feels. A vague ' empathy step' means that the kid does not understand what the problem is 

 

Not wanting  to talk is a problem in itself. We might need to put aside the actual unsolved problem and work on this new unsolved problem of not wanting to talk about xxx.

 

M - I have noticed when I want to hear your  perspective on homework , you don't want to talk to me about it , what's up ?

post #6 of 20

Have you read "how to talk so kids will listen and how to listen so kids will talk"?  I have found some good strategies for talking to DD1 who tends to intentionally 'not listen'.

post #7 of 20
I ask him to calm down and we go back to what made him angry, like his room is dirty, why are YOU mad at me? I didn't dirty it, you're responsible to keep that room clean. He's still angry and usually his little sister and jealousy issues are why he's angry. I been trying to listen more because I can shut him up quickly. I'm mexican so we spank but not lately and I don't beat. He gets a tap in his mouth of he talks back. Since he's almost 8 I really try to reason with him and to calm the situation. Improvement by 1% so far.
post #8 of 20

my son is 3 so i'm not sure if my methods apply.  he's generally good at hearing me out, but when he isn't it's usually because he's still upset so, as others mentioned, i wait until he's calmed down a bit. if  i'm feeling upset, too, i give myself some time, too. do some breathing. (i actually have him do breathing with me sometimes, which helps both of us.)  when we're both calm and ready, i sit down with him and talk with him about what happened and how he handled things, what he did right and what he did wrong. and i spell out what i would rather him do.  i ask him how he feels about it, and if there's anything i can do to help him curb the inappropriate behavior. 

 

if he's calm but still refuses to or just can't hear me, i'll find a book that applies to the situation and read it with him. i might ask him what he thinks of the story, then mention how it relates to us and what happened.

 

i know a 7 year old -especially one getting a tweenie attitude- isn't the same as a 3 year old so this may be moot but i hope it's at least a little helpful.

post #9 of 20

I am Mexican and do not spank or beat.  Just want to clarify that spanking is not a definitive part of Mexican culture.  I am not judging those who decide to spank - but definitely judge those who beat.  Just saying it is not a defining characteristic of my culture

post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ESPMadre View Post

I am Mexican and do not spank or beat.  Just want to clarify that spanking is not a definitive part of Mexican culture.  I am not judging those who decide to spank - but definitely judge those who beat.  Just saying it is not a defining characteristic of my culture
That's why I said "I" and different strokes for different folks. I grew up that way so it is part of my culture.
post #11 of 20

We have a foster son who is 8 and was very abused. He was extremely defiant and verbally and physically abusive to me - I ended up with bruises and being constantly hit, kicked, and bit and I was a couple months prego. We were able to get it under control within a couple weeks with very consistent time outs for any offense including rolling of eyes. It is a form of disrespect to show dishonor when an adult is talking to a child. We don't expect our children to be perfect because they won't be, but we require respect (and we have to show respect to them as well in the process). If my son is not ready to talk, I have him on time out until he is because it shows that he is not ready to be repentant of his issue. We have seen HUGE improvements in him. I am no longer being abused and cursed at and he is no longer talking about hurting himself (he was suicidal also). He is starting to learn to respect others as well as himself. Being extremely consistent is sooooooo important!!!!

post #12 of 20

I have luck talking with my 8yo in the car, alone without her little sister.  It allows us to talk and avoid eye contact, which somehow diffuses the antagonism.  Where we live drives are quite long, so we have ample time to talk.  If she responds back, but onto a different subject we talk about that for a moment.  Then a moment of silence, then I bring my subject back up again.  I also find that lunchtime--never dinner-- can be a good time to talk about solutions together.  Once I do have her ear, I try to keep the talk collaborative.

 

I struggle with communicating with my kids for some of the same reasons you are finding.  It seems sometimes like no one hears me.  But, with my oldest anyway, there is some progress, like our conversations in the car.  She understands, though it hasn't quite made it into her actions yet.  Recently, I became fed up and "changed the rules" of how we address the breaking of the rules.  It has been extremely stressful for me, but at the same time, I cannot help seeing that we are slowly, slowly, slowly, making it through all this.  I am an unshakeable optimist, apparently.

post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ESPMadre View Post

I am Mexican and do not spank or beat.  Just want to clarify that spanking is not a definitive part of Mexican culture.  I am not judging those who decide to spank - but definitely judge those who beat.  Just saying it is not a defining characteristic of my culture

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sofiah16 View Post

That's why I said "I" and different strokes for different folks. I grew up that way so it is part of my culture.

 

Regardless, I just want to reiterate that spanking (in any form--even a tap) is not a philosophy that MDC will host discussion on.

 

Let's please keep the conversation on non-physical alternatives to handling the situation.

post #14 of 20

One thing I used to do is when I had to reprimand one of my kids, I would take them to my room or their room - a space away from where other people could hear. I would try and keep it to no more than 3 minutes. Going to a different space and making a bit formal made them know I took it very seriously. 

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by heatherdeg View Post

 

 

Regardless, I just want to reiterate that spanking (in any form--even a tap) is not a philosophy that MDC will host discussion on.

 

Let's please keep the conversation on non-physical alternatives to handling the situation.

 

Wow! I am pretty sure that she asked what "I" use as a method not what I wanted her to do. Whoever reads this and feels obligated to "spank" their kids is not in their right mind. You failed to read my complete post when I said that now that he is older talking is what works. I am appalled at how you're viewing my opinion. Pretty much as child abuse. Just because you believe something it does not mean that you will enforce that on me. This is why I don't join any groups, people like you Jumping to extreme conclusions. I must be a child abuser. Have a good day and I will remove my self fr this website. Learn to cope with other people's opinions without throwing stones at them. People have their own free will and what I say or don't say I'm sure it won't have an effect on someone as appealing as you make it seem. 

post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by sofiah16 View Post
I am appalled at how you're viewing my opinion.

 

 

Hello, Sofia and welcome to MDC!  Please know that MDC is not a place that wishes to demonize parents who have experimented with hitting or parents who have been raised in a culture that tolerates hitting. This is a place for parents to find resources for avoiding violence as a form of discipline.  Our guidelines for this forum can be found here: 

 

http://www.mothering.com/community/a/gentle-discipline-forum-guidelines

 

Quote:
Please appreciate that this forum is not a place to uphold or advocate violence against children. Things that constitute violence toward a child are things like hitting, spanking, humiliating, shaming, screaming, prolonged isolation, basically things that are intended to cause physical or emotional pain. We do not allow discussion that promotes or defends such behavior. Posts of that nature will be edited by the member upon request or will be removed.

 

We want to be respectful and supportive of Madsky because we know that she is looking for non-violent solutions for her struggles with her child. You mentioned that talking has worked better than spanking. That offers valuable insight. Can you share with us what sort of conversations you have and why or why not you think that may work in Madsky's situation?  

post #17 of 20

OP - sounds a lot like my 6yo.  I keep catching myself lecturing her and not letting her do the talking when we "talk."  I'm pretty sure I've deserved the eye roll a few times.  Don't know if it applies to you but thought I'd share.

post #18 of 20

I've found that if I can get out a "hey - I need you to listen to me say 1 thing.  This is happening (whatever the problem is) and it is making me feel xyzy and I'd really rather talk about this together so that you don't blahblah and I don't feel so xyzy.  I think we can figure out something better and I'd like to talk about this later."  and then I go and usually wash laundry or do dishes -- that dd1 (6 and with a tendency to come off to me as rude) does seem to think about things herself and we have more productive talks later (our best times are at bedtime or when we're doing something - craft project, cooking, sometimes during a dinner we made together when she's more chatty)).  And it's like she's able to brace herself for talking about something, as well instead of not being able to deal with it.  I try really hard to focus on my own feelings or frustrations and be less controlling (like spouting out lots of 'you should' this or that).

 

I work really hard to sum it up and not go on and on, as I'll admit I have a tendency to do and I know it's annoying to get talked at like that.  If I can't get something out as thorough as the above - I'll try to make it a minimum of "I just can't have this happening so much/right now/etc.  We need to change this.  I need to be/I'd like to be (whatever I need to be working at - getting dressed, getting us to this place, cooking dinner, etc.)"  

post #19 of 20

Madskye,

 

How wise of you to look for counsel. You've tried so many methods to make things good for you and your daughter, to stay connected and be respectful of each other. It is hard when our attempts don't work. Here's a fresh way to think about the problem.

 

Children are basically good, kind, cooperative people who like to share, get along and be loving. When a child is behaving in ways that are contrary to their basic goodness they are signaling that something is hard for them. Your daughter's behavior - rolling her eyes, sticking her fingers in her ears and walking away is a sure sign she is off track. That means that an old hurt has come up and is showing itself to you. Children thrive on being warmly connected with their parents, and when that connection is broken they show us through off track behavior. The behaviors you described is one sign, so is crying, tantrums and the rigidity of having things just do. Like when the toast is cut into triangles and the child wants rectangles and has a huge fit. Connection is easily broken, to no fault of the parent. School is a separation, as is breaking eye contact with an infant while looking for the diaper creme. Separation comes in so many forms and happens despite the best parenting.

 

Two things you can do to restore the connection with your daughter. This first one will seem unrelated, but it is key. Right now you need extra support. My suggestion is to get time for yourself to talk about how hard it is for you right now in this phase of your parenting. The tool is called Listening Partnerships. Take turns with the friend, agree that you will keep whatever said totally confidential, so much so that neither of you will mention to the other or to anyone else what was said. This creates safety. Use a timer, and say give each other from 15 - 30 minutes of active listening, then switch. As you listen to your friend, you remember how good a parent s/he is, how much s/he loves her child despite what s/he is saying. When it is your turn to talk, tell your friend just what parenting is like for you. Maybe s/he can make the same face and walk away so you can feel the feelings that come up for you when your daughter does this. You can even tell your friend all the yucky things you'd never say to your daughter. Maybe you'll cry, or want to hit some pillows. Whatever you need to do to get the feelings out will really help you think well through this situation.

 

Secondly, a tool to be with your daughter and increase connection is to give her special time. Special time is a unique tool that restores connection well between adult and child. We give say 10 - 15 minutes of our best attention to our child. Using a timer (for lots of reasons), we tell our child it is Special Time. During this time they get to be in charge of how they get to use your time. Often kids will want to play, watch tv, or eat a treat or do something normally not allowed. That is good. For this amount of time, the parent's job is to delight in the child, just to be happy to be with her. She may want to play dolls, read books. Or she may want to do nothing. In that case, you can just sit near her, reading, sewing, but giving her your attention through your presence.  Special time works when the parent can be one on one with the child, without distractions from siblings, the phone, computers, email, etc. That's one reason it's timed, so we parents make the world wait while we are with our child.

 

Special time can work magic on restoring connection. Doing this as often as you can, weekly, daily, every other week, whatever you can manage, repairs the snags that daily life can make in our connection with our children. Your daughter is a good, caring child. She's just going through a hard time now. After a few sessions of special time, she might dread the end and cry, whine or tantrum about it being over. That's good. She is showing you where she is hurting. Then you can move in and lovingly listen to her just as would have with your Listening Partner. She will probably tell you what is bothering her so much as you are warm and close.

 

Although Special Time is delicious, it can bring up feelings about how we never got treated this way by our parents.  All our yucky feelings can be taken to that special friend, the Listening Partner and worked out there. 

 

Good luck to you, I hope this is helpful.

post #20 of 20
The Explosive Child is a good reference. I'm glad that's helped! Another book that might help you, and is a favorite of mine for talking to kids this age and older, is How To Talk So Kids Will Listen. It has some great ideas of ways to tell them what you need to say in a way that hopefully keeps them from hearing it as an accusation or that kind of thing. It can help kids from becoming defensive and dismissive.

Some of the suggestions are to describe what you see rather than tell them what to do. Like instead of "Pick up your clothes" you might have better luck with, "I see your clothes are on the floor of the bathroom." Also, to talk about how you feel than what they're doing. "It makes me feel X when I see you do Y." And to problem solve with them. "Here is what I need to see. I know you want this. How can we both get what we want? Do you have any ideas?" There's more, but hopefully that gives you an idea.

The game changes a bit as they get older, and it can be tricky, but keep posting here with how things are going, and check your library or pick up a copy of that book if you can. I have found it to be really helpful.
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