Please tell me how to get my children to listen to me!! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 9 Old 11-20-2013, 09:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm desperate! Our house is a war zone... The constant fighting , screaming, arguing etc. I have tried so hard to raise them peacefully. I've taught them the importance of kindness, respect, gratitude, and peace. Nothing I have done or said seems to get through! I don't know how to get them to listen to anything I request!!!! I resort to yelling, threatening, and physically pulling them aside. Kind respectful requests fall on deaf ears. My marriage is taking a hit due to all this.... My husband cannot fathom how little the kids seem to listen. Dd is 4 and ds is 7.... Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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#2 of 9 Old 11-20-2013, 10:11 PM
 
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Sorry you're having a hard time Mama, I feel for you. I don't know what to say. Is it possible you can stop what you dont like for yourself, yelling, threatening, pulling them? Its probably going to take a while to shift things if its already a negative pattern, does that make sense? Stress is so hard.
I have no clue, so i am sorry if my post seems rude. I just think calming myself down first often helps me the most. Its hard to stay that way&get things done. I hope this thread fills up for you.
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#3 of 9 Old 11-20-2013, 10:24 PM
 
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#4 of 9 Old 11-21-2013, 06:38 AM
 
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Definitely a time to take back control. I am in control ( mostly) but the kids have a say too and this balance seems to work for us. HOld a short meeting. Explain that the family needs a better way of communicating. THat you don't like yelling and "i'ms sure you don't like it either". Write up a few family rules with the kids in put--- Respect, get chores done, clean room, that sort of thing. Keep it to just 5-6 things. THis is the baseline to work from.

 

Can you work in a game night-- what activity is fun as a family-- to reconnect with y our children and spouse. 

 

Chores-- all kids can do chores. Have a list of a few appropriate chores and you assign a couple and the kids can pick a couple.  THeywouon't be perfect at getting this done all the time. Have a board  that is a check off system. Can be  a paper taped to a wall or a pretty fancy metal cookie sheet with magnets ( Use a SHarpy and ruler to put on names and chores that are long term; use alcohol to clean off.)

 

You will get yourself under control when the kids are getting under control. 

 

Perhaps a written schedule of what needs to be done when-- build in free time, build in reading time, build in chore time. If you family is like mine, every day is a little different because of sports, etc.  

 

In clude the kids on folding laundry. THen by 8-9 teach filling the washer. My 10 year old can get several loads done a day and hang up wet clothes if older brother helps carry out the basket. I encourage teamwork. Help each other. THey have to stop fighting to get the job done. I supervise and help and be a role model. With time and experience they can function almost indepentently. I just remind- "how id the laundry coming along?" AN open question-- no assumptions that it is not getting done. Of course I am asking because it has probably been forgotten ! lol

 

THe 4 year old can help pick up and put away toys, match socks, or at least pull the socks out and putin a box for sorting later. 

 

Yes this takes more work on your part to help them; yes you can do the chores faster with out their help, BUT they willnever learn these skills without the experience and in time it will free up YOUR time. 

 

By 7 I was teaching my kids how to use the microwave--make oatmeal, heat a hot dog-- supervise while learning until you are certain the child is safe and understands how to deal with hot items that can burn. 

 

I keep easy to eat foods available" bowl of fruit, cheese sticks for quick eats. OFten my kids get crabby because they are hungry. THey eat and suddenly they are a different child-- this happens with one more than another. 

 

Changing is hard. YOu will get push back. Stand your ground. Try to include rewards.  Have ice cream sandwhiches available for after the first meeting, and the second and the third. Or other reward. Keep it short and sweet and up beat.  

 

What I have learned is that yelling and screaming ups the anti-- meaning I have to go to higher and higher volumes to be heard. Try the opposite, whisper AFTER you have their attention.  Perhaps use a whistle -- as they get used to it means come to attention, you can soften the whistle to a gentle toot, it will save your voice, and then add putting your hand up meaning quiet and attention please. ( At boy scouts a hand up means quiet and attention, stop talking-- maybe develop your own family signal. ) 

 

Kids do need to be quiet and listen to us adults-- we are in charge and need to keep all  things organized. ANd then they have a say too-- a chance to speak and be heard respectfully. My kids will turn the tables and ask for "quiet" or say" mom you swore- 10cent fine" and then giggle. THat child gets a dime. THe validates their participation in the rules. Mom has to follow them to. 

 

I hope you found a few ideas here that you can implement asap and develop others whe you have time. 

 

My biggest point of control is I do what I say-- no exceptions. Kids get this. NO idle threats. Follow thru with mild punishments and big rewards. Rewards work better in the long run than punishments.  You are training your kids to beleive in you. Being to dog is hard work. lol 

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#5 of 9 Old 11-21-2013, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all the advice. I have sat with them and explained that I'm sad out house isn't more full of love and peace. All three of us worked on rules to follow that respect each other.... The plan was, if you don't follow a rule you get a strike, after 3 strikes then no iPad time after dinner. It's not really working! They do love their 15 min iPad time so it was the best incentive I could think of. I praise highly when they do listen or respectfully speak to each other but that is not often. My kids are very hyper and extremely active... High spirited I guess! I will go over all of the advice again but wanted to let you know I have tried some of it and its not working!!!
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#6 of 9 Old 11-21-2013, 08:06 AM
 
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A Mother Hen has great advice.  We struggle with this in our family, too.  A very useful book on the subject is the aptly titled How to Talk So Kids Will Listen.  Some of the examples are illustrated with "comic strips", and I've found it's educational for both my son and me to read these together and talk about them.  Many of them show "the right way" and "the wrong way" for a parent to handle a situation.  Why is this way better?  How does each person feel?  How is this like something that happened in our family?  There are a few examples where my son feels that "the right way" is still wrong because it sounds false or condescending to him, and it's helpful to me to know what pushes his buttons.

 

Another great book is Parent Effectiveness Training.  I appreciate that it teaches better strategies for parents to work with our kids, without shaming us for feeling irritated by the kids' behavior or making it sound like we're the only ones who need to shape up!  Also, I feel that this is a good approach because I discovered the book on my parents' shelf when I was 8, and when I read it I recognized many of the strategies my parents used with me, but instead of feeling manipulated or anything like that, I felt grateful that my parents had read this book and were using this approach that was respectful of me as well as helping them get what they needed.

 

I guess my biggest pointer for you, based on my own painful experience, is this: When your kind, respectful request has been ignored, STOP ASKING AND TAKE ACTION.  Impose a logical consequence right away.  I find that when I ask again and again, each time makes me feel more hurt and angry, and this soon shows in my tone.  Then my son has a legitimate opportunity to accuse me of "yelling" and "being rude" and to smarmily rub my face in the rule I have taught him, "Yelling and being rude doesn't get you what you want."  Then I'm ashamed and feel I have no right to what I was asking, and this is a bad bad place to be as a parent.  Much better to say, "Please pick up the tape and scissors," one time, go about my business for five minutes, and then when I see the tape and scissors still in the middle of the living room floor, simply pick them up and hide them in the top closet shelf so that tomorrow's craft project will be impeded.  Now I can stop worrying about what if I step on that nasty sharp-edged tape dispenser.  Tomorrow, I'll put the tape and scissors back where they belong, and he'll have another chance at using them responsibly.


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#7 of 9 Old 11-21-2013, 08:32 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kdescalzi View Post

Thank you for all the advice. I have sat with them and explained that I'm sad out house isn't more full of love and peace. All three of us worked on rules to follow that respect each other.... The plan was, if you don't follow a rule you get a strike, after 3 strikes then no iPad time after dinner. It's not really working! They do love their 15 min iPad time so it was the best incentive I could think of. I praise highly when they do listen or respectfully speak to each other but that is not often. My kids are very hyper and extremely active... High spirited I guess! I will go over all of the advice again but wanted to let you know I have tried some of it and its not working!!!

Pardon me for being blunt . . . 

 

" hyper and extremely active" is fine. In your first post you talked about yelling and screaming and lack of self control. THese are two different things.  I  have boys and they run thru the house . . . however they talk to me politely and respectlyf ully and I to them. I encourage them with "I want to hear what you are saying I while I am looking directly in their eyes, and fully facing them. Please talk slower. or please talk normal voice. And I repeat this until I can hear their message. I don't hear yelling very well-- we have shut down modes right?  THis is not an over night fix. THis is time after time after time, and evenutually they will alter the the way they talked to me. 

 

THe 3 strikes rule is a punishment based system. If it is not working toss it out. You have bigger issues to tackle here and the 3 strikes will not connect you to your kids. 

 

At the meeting ENGAGE the children in the solution. Talking AT them does not pull them into being responsible for the rules or their actions.  Have them create some of the rules of what makes a better communication. 

 

THe house rules are a guide not a tool to bash the kids with; it is to aspire to at this age. Later you can make tougher rules-- like home by 9 pm. 

 

I have the impression that you are approaching this like a king in charge and the children are peons . . . I hope you are laughing a little at this, because kids are first to make us wonder who is really in charge here. 

 

I trained my dogs, day after day after day. Every interaction is a training opportunity. THe kids are the same but boy they make us think harder how to manage them. My dogs were easy compared to my kids. lol 

 

You control the flow at the meeting, you control the length of the meeting and the time of the meeting. HOwever, allow the kids to contribute. I f they don't have ideas , then suggest a few and have them pick.  THey also pick the rewards. Try to avoid punishments. My dogs didn't get punishments, they got rewards. 

 

Look at the rewards-- praise is over rated-- what motivates the kids at this point in their lives? If you cannn't list 3 things for each child, think about it and observe the kids until you can have 3 rewards. THis is very individual tailored to each child.  Give them tokens for when they are good  and putin  a jar  and when it is "full" get together and have a specila cookies and milk party and talk about how well everyone did. Start with a SMALL jar. You want sucess early in the game. After several months, go to a bigger jar.  Maybe the reward is 30 minutes of snuggle under a blanket on the couse while mommy reads a special book, a book you think both kids will like given the age differences. 

 

OVerall they really do want your time and attention. Build that into the rewards. 

 

YOur thoughts?

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#8 of 9 Old 11-21-2013, 08:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by EnviroBecca View Post
 

A Mother Hen has great advice.  We struggle with this in our family, too.  A very useful book on the subject is the aptly titled How to Talk So Kids Will Listen.  Some of the examples are illustrated with "comic strips", and I've found it's educational for both my son and me to read these together and talk about them.  Many of them show "the right way" and "the wrong way" for a parent to handle a situation.  Why is this way better?  How does each person feel?  How is this like something that happened in our family?  There are a few examples where my son feels that "the right way" is still wrong because it sounds false or condescending to him, and it's helpful to me to know what pushes his buttons.

 

Another great book is Parent Effectiveness Training.  I appreciate that it teaches better strategies for parents to work with our kids, without shaming us for feeling irritated by the kids' behavior or making it sound like we're the only ones who need to shape up!  Also, I feel that this is a good approach because I discovered the book on my parents' shelf when I was 8, and when I read it I recognized many of the strategies my parents used with me, but instead of feeling manipulated or anything like that, I felt grateful that my parents had read this book and were using this approach that was respectful of me as well as helping them get what they needed.

 

I guess my biggest pointer for you, based on my own painful experience, is this: When your kind, respectful request has been ignored, STOP ASKING AND TAKE ACTION.  Impose a logical consequence right away.  I find that when I ask again and again, each time makes me feel more hurt and angry, and this soon shows in my tone.  Then my son has a legitimate opportunity to accuse me of "yelling" and "being rude" and to smarmily rub my face in the rule I have taught him, "Yelling and being rude doesn't get you what you want."  Then I'm ashamed and feel I have no right to what I was asking, and this is a bad bad place to be as a parent.  Much better to say, "Please pick up the tape and scissors," one time, go about my business for five minutes, and then when I see the tape and scissors still in the middle of the living room floor, simply pick them up and hide them in the top closet shelf so that tomorrow's craft project will be impeded.  Now I can stop worrying about what if I step on that nasty sharp-edged tape dispenser.  Tomorrow, I'll put the tape and scissors back where they belong, and he'll have another chance at using them responsibly.

This is wonderful advice.

 

I take action immediately. IT maybe to asist the child in getting done an action like picking up. The younger the child the more asistence they need to do any activity and an adult supervising and asisting in the activity , like clean up, or folding laundry. As they get older my kids have two verbal reminders, then I jump in and help. My kids are a little older and are used to my ways. I tell them if they can help get the chores done it frees my time to drive them to soccer or boy scouts. I try to show them how they benefit by doing what they are supposed to be doing.

 

I don't take training my kids personally, when I am frustrated and angry then it has crossed over into personal , and I look at what I can do to alter the situation the next time to become a positive one. Like a son that had a melt down after school-- he is tired and worn down, so I immediately have a snack for him and  and hour  of quiet time to decompress. THis avoided the meltdown. I tend to keep snacks in the car for him too. 

 

YOu are on the right track-- changing this will take a little time and a lot of effort on your part. Kudos for you for trying to find a better way!!

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#9 of 9 Old 11-21-2013, 09:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kdescalzi View Post

I'm desperate! Our house is a war zone... The constant fighting , screaming, arguing etc. I have tried so hard to raise them peacefully. I've taught them the importance of kindness, respect, gratitude, and peace. Nothing I have done or said seems to get through! I don't know how to get them to listen to anything I request!!!! I resort to yelling, threatening, and physically pulling them aside. Kind respectful requests fall on deaf ears. My marriage is taking a hit due to all this.... My husband cannot fathom how little the kids seem to listen. Dd is 4 and ds is 7.... Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I hear your frustration, and I hope you know that you're not alone! I did find this article series that may offer you some good advice. I know it can be a lot of work, but I've found that whenever I consistently apply consequences for bad behavior, it relieves me from having to yell, threaten, or get stressed out myself... 

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