How to Talk & Listen to Your Children: Parenting Tips for Engaging Their Cooperation
Many parents feel irritated and get extremely upset when they cannot get their children, kids or teenagers to do what they want them to do… when they want them to do it… The constant refrain is that their children come home… dump their bags on the floor… don’t pick up their dirty clothes… don’t do their homework… never help around the house… What parenting tips would come in handy here?
Are you one of those parents? Given below are six parenting tips that parents can use to engage the cooperation of their children.
Problem: “Wet paint spilt on the bedroom floor…”
- Describe What You See, Or Describe The Problem
It’s difficult to do what needs to be done when parents question, criticise or give orders. Instead describe the problem; it gives children a chance to tell themselves what to do. They are more willing to be responsible. For example, “I see wet paint all over the floor.”
Just avoid the situation in the pic below –
- Give Information
Information is a lot easier to take than accusations and insults. When given information children can usually figure out for themselves what needs to be done. For example, “It’s easier to remove paint before it dries.”
- Say It In One Word
Children dislike hearing lectures, sermons, and long explanations. Shorter the reminder, the better! A single word or a gesture encourages them to think about the problem and discover what has to be done. One of the most important parenting tips to remember. For example, “The paint!”
- Describe What You Feel
Do not comment on children’s character or personality. When parents describe their feelings without attacking or ridiculing, children are more willing to listen and cooperate. Use the word “I” or “I feel”. For example, “I don’t like seeing the floor splattered with paint.”
- Give Choices
Threats and orders make children and teens feel helpless and defiant. Giving them choices allows them to explore new alternatives. For example, “You can clean it up with a damp cloth or a wet sponge.”
- Write a Note
Sometimes nothing is as effective as the written word. Youngsters often block out what their parents say, but if you put it in writing it gets their attention. For example: Attention all Artists. “Kindly restore floor to original condition. Thanks! Your Mum.”
Be Genuine. Be Respectful. Nothing you say or do will make any difference if you sound disgusted. Your tone of voice is just as important as your words – “how” you say is it is just as important as “what” you say. Along with our words of respect, we need an attitude of respect – one that says, “I have confidence in your judgement and your ability to do the task.”
Be Patient. Just because you don’t “get through” the first time, doesn’t mean you should go back to your old ways.
This information has been kindly shared with us by Shalini Kocherla, a psychologist and counselor who runs a clinic, CHETANA, Centre for Awareness, Psychological Assessment & Counselling at Visakhapatnam.