He just doesn't listen... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 10-03-2010, 10:43 PM - Thread Starter
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OK- disclaimer: My goal as a parent is not "to make him listen to me". I'm not asking him to turn into a drone. We don't do rewards or punishments, we're all on the Alfie Kohn boat, and, I know that this is generally normal stuff. But this is the scenario:

"K, please don't jump on the bed while we are trying to get your brother's pj's on here..."

"But, blah, blah, blah..." (keeps jumping, no real reason, giggling, thinking it's funny).

"Really, K. It makes this a lot harder because the baby is distracted and things are flying everywhere. Hop down and let's finish this and then we can go have a snack."

"Well, blah, blah,blah..." (keeps jumping, keeps laughing, keeps doing it).

Inevitably, this ends up with raised voices and me being really, really frustrated. And, if I'm being really honest, a bit hurt, because clearly him knowing that he is making things harder for us is not impacting him. I know he is young, and this is not the "full story", but I feel this way a bit. I think some of it also has to do with the "fun" of being a bit mischevious and him maybe not knowing the line too well where a joke and where annoyance are divided (though I try to be very upfront about this and make this clear).

He is 6.

So, while I don't need him to "listen to me" as a goal of my parenting, sometimes I need him to listen to me out of meeting everyone's needs and organization. Ideas?
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#2 of 6 Old 10-04-2010, 12:11 AM
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My first thought is--too many words. I might phrase the first request the way you did, but my second comment would be "DS! Off the bed. [wait] Thank you."

But this is classic attention seeking behavior. Prevention is the better strategy. Give him an "important big brother" task to do while you are tending to his little brother. Could he help with getting his brother dressed? Pick out a few books for bedtime?

I believe 6 is too young for him to fully understand the impacts of his behavior on you. He is learning, but he isn't there yet. Try not to take it personally. He's being a very normal (sometimes annoying and inconsiderate) 6 yo
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#3 of 6 Old 10-04-2010, 01:48 AM
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Before I even read the first comment I was thinking. "too many words," aslo! I agree that it needs to be more direct OR you can find a way to stop for a minute and make it fun. Put your hands on him.... Have him jump into your arms to get off the bed. Grab his feet in a playful way and drag him to you giving him some kisses along the way. Does he want to help get the pj's on baby brother?? Does he have any jobs to do like clearing off the table; picking clothes out for school the next day; sitting on the toilet before getting in bed....I would definitely pre-structure the time by thinking of something for him to do but if you do it that way you have to be ready to help him be successful in getting it completed even if he doesn't do it at your initial implication. So maybe going with the playful bed play might be good.

I'm starting to get wordy here but I'm just going to say also that when I give short and concise requests and give a pause for my kids to respond I sometimes then give them the explanation in a positive way after they have responded postively. So when they do jump off the bed into my arms I say, "Thank you for participating in the family and helping things roll along smoothly. I love you so much." *smmooooches the kids sweet cheeks*

Recently I was talking with a friend about how one of my phrases to my 6 year old is "J, go with the flow okay?" And she gets this because it's got an expression that comes along with it to. And it was when we were talking about this that I realized there are times that she is directing the flow of things in the house even though we live in a family....so I am going to start pointing this out to her in a good way when she is directing the flow so she can understand how it switches around from time to time and sometimes we are driving and sometimes we aren't. Hopefully this will help her be more aware of herself and people around her.
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#4 of 6 Old 10-04-2010, 10:15 AM
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You could get so much good from the book How To Talk so Kids Will Listen! The author's last name is Faber. I agree that you could use fewer words. "Get off the bed." And then, "Ds, off the bed!" (Not yelling but with a more serious voice.) And watch him with anticipation of him getting off the bed, like you're waiting for the bus.

Also, I know the intent of "please" is to model politeness, and I appreciate that, but sometimes kids will take that to mean that you're just asking and they don't have to follow. I would remove "please" and instead say "thank you" when he gets off the bed.
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#5 of 6 Old 10-04-2010, 12:06 PM
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If that was here and DS wouldn't stop then I'd remove him from the bed. If he was rude about that then I'd remove him from the room.

Listening and being respectul to my requests is a pretty big part of my parenting deal. I think it's a bad habit for a small child to think they have the right to ignore the person who is in charge.

DS (6.06), DD (10.08), DD (05.11).

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#6 of 6 Old 10-04-2010, 12:34 PM
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My first thought too was "too many words". My second thought was "how about a time when you playfully chase him/let him be mischievous ala Playful Parenting?"

I agree that How to Talk So Your Children Will Listen by Faber & Mazlish has great ideas about this. I tend to get too wordy too, and so it's a good reminder to me that shorter is sometimes sweeter. The other thing is to tell him what to do. It's easy to slip out of that habit when they get older, but like toddlers, it works better. So, what does it mean to 'not jump'? Do you mean sit on the bed? Get off the bed? Keeping jumping until mom gets really mad ?

In our house, the conversation would go something like
"Please don't jump on the bed while I'm trying to put the baby's pjs on." (yes, probably not the best phrasing, but realistically, it's what would come out.)
"K, get down please."
"Do you need me to help you down?"
"Now go wait over there while I finish up with your little brother. I get angry when I have to stop and help you do what I've asked. When you jump on the bed, I can't get his pjs on."

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