Communication Parenting Tips – Get Your Kids to Do What You Want!
by Cathy Betty
(Auckland, New Zealand)
Cathy Betty: One of our Fabulous Top 10 Parenting Tips Contributors
- 1. Make it easy for your kids to understand what you actually want them to do. How?
TELL THEM what you want, rather than what you don’t want! I hear it all the time - parents telling their kids things like ‘Don’t slam the door’. Next time, try something like ‘Close the door gently’ and see what a difference it makes.
- 2. Kids don’t automatically know the opposite of what you tell them, they need to learn. So when you say ‘Don’t touch’, initially they have no idea what they should do.
So how do you help them to learn these opposites? Simply keep talking. ‘Don’t eat that, take it out of your mouth!’ You’ll get a quicker response when they don’t have to find the right answer themselves.
- 3. You’ve heard it before: Pick your battles! When it’s important, they need to know who’s boss, but when it suits you it pays to let them feel they have control over what happens too.
- 4. Think about what might be behind their outbursts. What don’t they understand that has created a reaction? After putting my foot down with my 3yr old recently, I heard her say ‘I hate you, you’re not nice’.
I sat down with her and we had a good chat about the difference between hating me, and not liking something I had said or done.
- 5. Kids like to feel in control, and one thing I started from an early age was talking to my daughter about how strong her body is, and how she could easily fix anything that goes wrong.
I’m not about to tell you she doesn’t get sick at all, but I can tell you she bounces back very quickly. When she’s hurt or sick, I talk to her about how she can fix herself, and when she’s better, I point out how good she feels and praise her on doing a great job.
- 6. Validate your kid’s feelings, especially if they are upset. Saying things like ‘That was a big fuss over nothing wasn’t it?’ makes them feel like you don’t understand how important it was to them. If it doesn’t look like a big deal to you, you’re probably missing something that means a lot to them.
- 7. As parents, we have an incredibly powerful position. In the things we say each day, we are literally programming our kids’ minds and beliefs. It pays to be very conscious of the regular messages that they are receiving, even if you’re not talking to them directly.
Think about what their impression would be around relationships with family and friends, money and the state of the world they live in. Is it a happy place in their minds?
- 8. Nothing beats quality time with your kids. You know that. So make sure when you have time, you make it feel special for them. Focused attention is like gold and is a huge part of making them feel loved and appreciated.
Having a strong and open relationship will help you to communicate better when issues come up.
- 9. Praise your kids genuinely. Make sure they know you’re proud of them and approve. Then encourage them to pass it on – siblings, friends and other family members will all appreciate positive words from them too.
If my daughter really likes her dinner, she’ll ask everyone at the table to join her in saying (1… 2… 3…) ‘Thank you Mummy for a yummy dinner!’ She has learned that everyone feels good when you share a message like that.
- 10. Try and see the world through their eyes. It’s usually fairly simple – they want love and attention, and they want to understand. With so much of their world unexplored, brand new experiences pop up all the time and it’s quite amazing how they absorb thousands of little lessons as they grow.
By consciously communicating the right messages to them each day, you can build their confidence and trust in you, so that they will in turn, respect you and follow your lead.
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