3 Reasons My Children Aren’t Listening

3 Reasons My Children Aren't ListeningDo you ever get the feeling you sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? All your children hear is, “Wa-wa, wa-wa-wa-wa-wa.” Over the years I’ve discovered this to be true in my own home. When this happens, I know three things have occurred.

In order for my children to obey, fulfilling the responsibilities given to them, I must first ensure they have heard my command. It helps to have my children not only look at me when giving them instructions, but for them to confirm they have heard the request. A simple “Yes, mom” will usually suffice. This ensures they have heard the command and have no one but themselves to blame when consequences arise from lack of obedience. In my instructions I am very clear to state what I expect of them, how much time they have to accomplish said task, and the consequences for their lack of obedience.

The second key is putting in place solid consequences for lack of obedience. When our children understand we are serious about them obeying, they will be more likely to listen and act. I discuss appropriate measures with my husband, and determine which consequences we are willing to put into place. Then, start using them.

Lastly, be consistent. Our children will not take us seriously if we do not follow through on our word. If we say they will not get dessert if they don’t clean their room, they need to not get dessert. It doesn’t matter if they whine, moan, or pout. Giving in, especially to whining, only ensures our children will not obey us in the future. Instead, they’ve learned they can get away with lack of obedience by worming their way out by nagging us. Once a consequence has been chosen, we stick with it. Every time. All the time.

It may take the children a few tries before they finally catch on to the new routine, but the sooner we start the better. When we are clear about what we expect, when disobedience is followed up by consequences, and we are consistent in our word, our children will have greater respect for our authority.

Bye-bye Charlie Brown’s teacher!

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
~ Matthew 11:15

Your Turn!: How often do your children claim not to hear when you speak?

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Once Is Enough

There is little more frustrating than being asked the same question over and over and over and over. To this end, a new rule has been put into effect: “Ask one time; once is enough. Ask me twice and the answer is automatically no.”

Keep in mind, we are not referring to the forgotten questions where I was asked to get someone cocoa and forgot in all our business. No, these repeated questions have already been given an answer and addressed. My children are now asking because either I am not moving fast enough for them or they are trying to change my mind.

Once Is Enough

You know what I mean. “Mom, may I have —, please?” “Maybe.” Two minutes later…. “Mom, may I have —, please?” “I already gave you my answer.” “Oh, right!” Ten minutes later…. “Mom, did you have an answer yet? Can I have it?” “I’m still thinking about it.” The questioning goes on and on until I either give in (bad move on my part) or I get frustrated (also a bad move).

To skip both of these errors, a new rule seemed to be needed. Get my attention, ask your question, and wait for my answer. If my answer is “yes”; more power to you. If “no”; live with it. If “maybe”; wait patiently or the answer will become no.

I am not trying to avoid answering; I am not ignoring my kids. There are some decisions which require thoughtful inquiry and prayer before just popping out an answer.

On the off-chance I do fail to get back to them, I am completely open to them asking politely if I have come to a decision. My only stipulations are that they ask nicely and after I have had some little while to think the matter over or discuss it with my guy.

As a side note: I am also okay with them asking why a decision was “no”. There is nothing wrong with wanting a logical explanation. As long as they are being respectful and seeking the truth (not just being argumentative), I have no problem with this discussion.

What I am trying to avoid is the constant asking which, in my opinion, is the sister to nagging. Once your request is made known, let it be!

How many times can your kids ask for something before the asking needs to stop?