When you’re addressing you child – or even, more important, giving him or her instructions – your kid may simply be not listening to you! There are some ways to make sure that what you say does stick in the offspring’s mind. Rabbi Shmuley lays down simple rules how to get yourself heard and understood.
1. Try yo Get the Maximum Attention
Make sure your child isn’t engrossed in something before you’re going to say something important. Don’t do anything as you begin the conversation, and ask your kid to stop doing whatever they were in the middle of, point out that you want to have their complete attention. If you are speaking while doing something else or allow your child to be distracted, Rabbi Shmuley points out, the kid may assume that what you say is not very important.
2. Express yourself directly
Make an eye contact with your child, say what you want to say, and get a direct answer from them. If you want your kid to do something, see to it that they get started immediately. Don’t let them put you off with requests to get back in 10 minutes because they want to finish their game or something, be kind but firm that you want to be listened to right now.
3. Avoid repeating yourself many times
Sometimes you have to repeat what you have already said, but just once is enough. If you go on saying the same thing over and over, the child begins to take you for a nag. They will “tune you out and avoid you,” warns Rabbi Shmuley.
If you have to repeat your instructions for the second time, state the consequences of disobedience. As an example, you may promise to take away and give away a thing your child is mishandling or gets distracted by. After that, never repeat yourself, the Rabbi advises. If you want to keep up your position, “follow through with the consequence and make sure you do what you said you would.”
4. Disobedience should be punished as appropriate to the child’s age
The child ought to know that disobedience results in consequences. Rabbi Shmuley believes that it would be appropriate for younger children to be sent away to their rooms, made to take time-out in a corner, or deny them a treat. If there is an argument over a misuse of an object, the object had better be taken away.
5. Reward for Good Things
Make sure you appreciate it when the child has done what you asked them to – and reward them for obedience. When they have really accomplished something noteworthy, get them a tasty treat, take them to some entertainment or give them some toy they had long wanted. Let your children feel happy because you show your appreciation of them!