Happy Parenting: How to Get Kids to Listen to You

“How can I get my kids to listen?” This is one of the most frequently-asked questions among parents. So how do you discipline a child that won’t listen?
I’m not a disciplinarian. So how do I discipline so that my child will listen without yelling, nagging or punishing? Let me tell you a story about my “obedient” child. And then I’ll show you the method I use to create a happy, harmonious family – step by step.
Here’s a fiction story to explain:
On a hot summer day, my 5 year old daughter was swimming with two friends. One friend called across the pool to ask her mother if she could use the hot tub. Her mom said no – after all, it was sweltering.
My daughter and the other friend started asking, too. Her mother and I shook our heads. “No, you can’t,” I told my daughter gently. “I’m sorry. It’s just too hot and not safe for little kids to go into the hot tub.”
Her friends started whining. But my little girl turned to them and announced proudly: “My mom said no. And I’m listening to MY MOM.“
The other two mothers stared at me. They wanted to know my secret.
So, here’s my secret…
The truth is … my daughter usually doesn’t listen to me at home. Because I don’t make her listen to me. I rarely give her orders to do things. Sometimes I ask her to follow instructions, but mostly I make requests.
I respect my child as an individual, someone with her own preferences and rights. I don’t make her bend to my will.
When there are times she must follow my guidance, I clearly explain to her why. But otherwise, she has the freedom to choose what to do and whether to accede to her parents’ wishes.
When a child feels respected and is allowed to have control over her own life, she listens out of her free will when you have something important to say.
Our child respects us because we have shown her respect first.
We give them reasons, not commands, when we need them to do something.
I call this Stress-Free Parenting. Here are a list of tips you can follow to implement this: 
  1. Accept that we cannot and shouldn’t control anyone but ourselves: Kids are not robots. Kids are not pets. Kids are not our property. We shouldn’t try to control another human being. You don’t need total control to have harmony at home. And, in fact, accepting that you cannot control anyone but yourself will make you a much happier person – and your home happier and more peaceful.
  1. Be Sensible - Insist only when there is a good reason: “Why can’t I get my kids to listen to me?” If you find yourself asking this question, first reevaluate what you’re asking them to do. Children may be immature and naturally self-centered, but they do listen to good reasons and explanations. If your children seem never to listen, chances are they are using every opportunity to fight back against your attempts to control every aspect of their lives.
  1. Do not punish as kids who make judgements: We all want to raise kids who have good judgment and can make the right decisions when we’re not there to tell them what to do. But how can they do that without practicing making decisions — and making some of their own mistakes? Just as falling is an integral part of learning to walk, making bad decisions is an integral part of learning to make good choices. Do you punish a child for falling when they’re learning to walk? No. So don’t punish your child for failing to make a sound judgment. They need practice and experience to refine their judging skills. 
  1. Let them decide but guide them through questions: Well, discipline a child by teaching, not by bossing them around. No one likes to be bossed around. We don’t. And kids don’t either. Give them the freedom to make as many decisions as reasonably possible. I’ve even let my child decide what I wear … well, sometimes. When you don’t agree with their decisions, instead of saying they’re wrong, ask them questions. Ask your child why they want to do things this way. Ask them what they will feel about the predictable results. Come up with different scenarios to help them think through all the possible outcomes. Help them identify possible negative results, and ask them if they can change their decisions to prevent them.

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