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Do Your Kids Listen To You?

Inspired Parenting Newsletter August 2nd 2011

One of the things I often get asked, is "how do I make my kids listen to me?" I know one of the biggest challenges for many parents, is when their kids argue back or don't simply jump and do what we ask when we ask. There is nothing more frustrating than having to ask a child over and over to do something.

So how can you get a better result?

First of all stop nagging. It doesn't work. In fact you are actually training your child to switch off.

The next thing is, think very hard about your own listening skills. I know, you want me to tell you how to make THEM listen! Guess what? Your kids have learned a lot of their listening skills from you. It is a busy life. More often than not, parents are multi-tasking, particularly if you are also working outside the home. When you pick up the kids and get home, you have a million and one things that need your attention. So when your kids talk to you, you are also thinking about what to take out of the freezer, listening for the end of the washing cycle, and wondering if there are enough clean clothes for school tomorrow. So your kids often do not get the experience of you fully listening to them.

So what happens when they are busy doing other things and you start talking? - They only give you a little bit of their attention.
Now where have they learned that?

I know you are the parent, but you can't expect your child to behave any differently than you. If you want them to listen attentively to you - then you listen attentively to them. Or at least tell them what they are saying is important, and you want to get back to it. And make a time to sit down with no distractions and really listen.

Why is it when we ask kids what they have done as school they say "Nothing"? Maybe because when they came excitedly telling you a story about their day, you were not really paying attention so have either stopped bothering to tell you, or the time has way passed when they were full of energy and enthusiasm to share with you. (Apart from the fact that that is a really dumb question!) - It is actually better to ask something like, "What did you like best about school today?" or "Who did you play with today?"

Ben Zander said we should ask ourselves, "Who am I being that my children's eyes are not shining?"

So stop and think what is most important - your child, or a basket of dirty washing?

If you go with the energy of your kids and really stop and listen to them when they are wanting to talk, you will be modeling much better listening skills for a start. But you are also helping them to let off steam, or explore their feelings if something is bothering them. You help them to express their excitement, and lots of learning experiences get concretized when they tell you stories about their day. I know it is tempting to wait until you are sitting round the dinner table, and you feel you can stop for ten minutes, but by then you may have missed some really good communication opportunities.

If you really HAVE to get the load of washing out, then ask them to come with you and hand you pegs while you listen to them. Or chop the salad together while you chat.

Make the most of any opportunity for conversation while they are young, or by the time they are a teenager, and they start to pull away anyway, you will find you have an uncommunicative teen on your hands.

OK, so back to getting them to listen to YOU - I will give you a couple tips!

First, make eye contact, keep it short and simple, and give some preparation/transition time if you are wanting them to stop something that is much more interesting than doing a chore! "OK, in five minutes the timer will go off and it will be pack up time." Then when the time is up, go back in and happy happy joy joy, try to make your chore more exciting than their game! Have a race, play tickling games, counting games, ask them questions and give them attention while you both put things away.

The younger you start with your children, the better, so when they are older, they are more self directed.

Negotiate IN ADVANCE. Do NOT negotiate after you have made several requests. We tend to expect our kids to fit in with our time-table - RIGHT NOW!!! But if you say five minutes, and they say, but the program finishes in 8 minutes, then be reasonable. Give them some rights too.

You can ask what they need:
"I am nearly ready for table setting, how much time to you need to finish what you are doing and come and do your chores?" Why is what you want more important just because you are the parent? You do have executive control because you hold the bigger picture, but stop and think about their request and decide if it is reasonable, and try to have some flexibility. Just don't get into a constant re-negotiation with you nagging, but then backing down. When you have decided on the pack up time (for example) then stick to it. Little kids work well with using the timer on the oven.

The solution to four year old tantrums with my son was giving him plenty of transition time. He would get lost in a creative world, and would totally have a meltdown when I wanted him to get ready NOW and leave for playcentre. When I finally figured out what he needed most of the tantrums stopped. He needed about 15 minutes reminder - with eye contact - and then a 5 minute buzzer. The buzzer also takes the time keeping away from you. So you are not the one with the big stick calling out the time!

As parents we sometimes forget in our busy lives, our kids are doing what they think is most important. We may not agree, but we at least need to respect that and find ways to harmoniously create a win/win situation.

The final tip for you - don't try to make your kids do anything when you are out of sorts. When you are grumpy and irritated - get yourself to a place of feeling at least neutral before you start cracking the whip. But at the same time, be honest with your kids. I know when I was "real" with my kids and stopped trying to be Supermom They were much more likely to pitch in. If I just came out being authoritarian and bossy, they rebelled or argued back, but if I said how I felt, and that I needed some help they were often amazingly cooperative.

Feel free to leave any comments down the bottom :)


Education and Learning Tele-Summit

This event has been fascinating, and the recordings are available for 48 hours, so you have plenty of time to listen to some really interesting speakers talking about how to empower our kids and deal with some of the concerns with the education system. Particularly with many of our children today who simply are not getting their needs met because they don't fit the average "norm" that schools are designed to cater to. These kids get labelled as ADHD or dysfunctional in some way. Most kids learn to adapt to school, but is this really in their best interests?

Astrid has left quite a few of the recordings available so you may be able to catch up on those you have missed. There have been some really interesting speakers, who have really raised topics that are so important when it comes to our children's education.

Please listen to as many of these as you can, particularly if you have a child that does not seem to fit in well at school. It is free unless you want to own the recordings to listen to over again.

This week we can listen to Suzy Miller- A New Way To Understand the Diagnosis of Autism.

This is going to be fascinating, as Suzy had her world turned upside down by a child diagnosed with autism, and who was only four year old. Her interaction with this child, left her with the skill of telepathy! Suzy holds a Masters degree in Education, and is clinically trained in Speech and Language Pathology, so she is highly trained academically, and now has integrated more subtle skills into her work with parents, communicating to higher aspects of both parents and children. Her work has a profound impact for many families.

Michael Simonson – Opening to Love through Mastering Fear
Michael’s work with “energetically sensitive children” at The Hunter School, has been documented by Adam Mosston, an Emmy-Award winning TV producer.

Laurie Ferris – Overcoming the symptoms of ADHD without drugs
Laurie and her son, Zach were featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, where Zach, aged 11 talked about managing energy in order to control his rages.

Terry Damlos and Zahra Lightway – Co-creators of Seeding the Future Now:
Terry and Zahra work helping communities to create New Education Programs - Terry has founded a visionary school, and Ahara develops curriculums that meet a wider range of needs and focus on learning and growing, rather than testing and credentials.

Maureen Healy – 5 Keys to True Happiness for Kids
Maureen Healy is the founder of Growing Happy Kids and also serves as a child development expert at Psychology Today.

Izzy Kalman – Transforming Bullies into Buddies One of my favorite people, Izzy Kalman's work with kids and schools with is innovative way to deal with bullying, is just awesome, you will learn so much from him.

Kiran Bir Sethi – Empower the children to change the world
Kiran is the visionary Founder and Director of the Riverside School in Ahmedabad, India, and her design for school challenge series is sweeping the world. She is one of the most inspiring educators I have listened to, her TED talks are just wonderful.

Jennifer Hough – Step into your true light
Jennifer was part of the Mission Possible Project – Children are our teachers, which is a movie and web based Global project to wake the world up to what is possible for humanity, through telling the stories of children who are doing what it takes to change their world. She also emphasizes the use of language as ways we limit children, or focus on doom and gloom in the world. She spreads a message of hope, peace and well-being, and encourages us to listen to the vision of our children.

You can access interviews or the recordings here:

Everything Is Energy World Summit

This event finished, but it’s not too late to get access to the superb energy tools (24 of them!) we learned about during the summit.

David and Kristin Morelli gathered some of the foremost practitioners in energy work, and have asked them to give you powerful tools that work, that you can use to transform your family.

Everything Is Energy

Imagine teaching our kids they have the power of Superman! Discovering energy tools is like discovering your Hidden Superpowers... you can leap over the obstacles that used to make you feel trapped.

For a short time David and Kristin are making the recordings available, along with some great bonuses, so you can still get access to this powerful information.

Learn about bending time, quantum jumping. Experience powerful mediations that shift and clear anything that is holding you back. These tools apply to all areas of your life, and helping our kids to learn them while they are young, is so empowering.

Find out more here:

Wishing you a fabulous week with your kids, I'd love to hear your comments,

With Love, Annie D :)

Comments? Questions? Ideas? Thoughts?

I'd love to hear from you!

The ARTsignment™ Power Hour
Plug In and Renew Your Creative Spark

My wonderful creative friend Marney, from Artellaland, is running one of her Art Abundance classes to help us get back in touch with our creative spark. Creativity is something that for me, always connects me to my spiritual source. And Marney would have to be one of the best people I know who uses creative processes and activities that connect and inspire people to open to huge possibilities. You don't even have to be creative or artist to benefit from these classes, as it is a very personal experiential process to tap into your own power.

Even better - Marnie is offering this for FREE!

We function so much better when our creative spark is bright - problem solving, communicating, and inspiring our lives with passion.

The ARTsignment™ Power Hour will take place Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 9:00pm Eastern. You can find out more here:

Featured Sponsor

Gaiam Store Sale

Awesome Annual Sale: Eco Clothing, Yoga supplies, Home and Garden

Don't miss the annual sale at Gaiam, excellent range of health and wellbeing products:

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Final Week
Funny Kids Quotes Contest

Win a $50 Amazon Gift Voucher in our latest competition.

Click the link below to have a giggle reading the funny stories that have come in. (I've even learnt a thing or two!)

parenting advice? Ask Annie

Featured Parenting Question

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This Mom is worried about an incident her 6 year old was caught doing with a friend. Tricky issues about bodies, children exploring, teaching kids what is private. See the book review below for a helpful book in introducing those kind of topics.

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This book was recommended by one of our readers, as a good book to answer and introduce the trickier questions kids ask about bodies.

Written by Dr Gail Saltz, who has appeared on Oprah, this book really does delve into topics that many parents find hard to answer.
Amazing You!: Getting Smart About Your Private PartsChildren's Sexuality Books

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