No, we want them to learn and think.

Getting a child to listen to us all the time can result in a pattern of just listening to everyone and not thinking and assessing situations. Sometimes it can lead to a withdrawal strategy where they just listen to avoid conflict, or even then later, listening to people we don’t want them to listen to. It IS easier and quicker for us at the time if they just listened, but in the long run, it can cause bigger problems.

The WHY is so important in everything we do.  It develops who we are.  It allows us to understand ourselves and what we want and gives us a frame of reference to base our decisions on. That is what we want for our children.

Then what about us? Here are 3 quick questions to help:

1. What do we need?

Usually, when we just want them to listen, it is because we need something else. Maybe we are tired, maybe we need to be somewhere? It is important to understand our need and plan to ensure that we get what we need so that we can separate our need from how we interact with our children. What plan can you put in place so you get what you need regardless of whether they listen or not? For example:  In the mornings if we need them to hurry up so that we can get to work. Can you get them up a bit earlier? Can you get up earlier? Can they pack their bags and do all their preparation the night before? What routine can you put in place to make mornings easier?

2. What do we want our children to learn?

When our children aren’t listening and we aren’t getting what we want, we start to nag or that is when the words we use are an expression of our frustration and not actually what we want them to learn. This is when we need to go back to the first question and plan so that we are in a good state of feeling before we interact with them. Once we are centred, we are able to focus on what we want them to learn.  In the example above for the mornings, we might want to teach them self-management and organisation to be ready when they need to be.

3. How do we teach them?

Use short clear sentences on what they need to learn. Ask them how they think they could get it done. Let them try their way and they assess whether it works or not. Let them come up with a solution. Teaching them to problem solve at a young age sets up their pattern of thinking and develops internal motivation rather than listening to instructions. In the morning example, the lesson could be:  We leave for school at 6:30 am. And questions: What do you need to do to be ready for that? You can offer ideas if they are not sure, let them choose and try different options. Do we believe they are capable of problem-solving? Our belief in them has a huge influence on their belief in themselves.

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