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My Child Won't Listen To Me: Parenting Tips

Recently I was part of a large tele-summit for families where I gave a one hour class highlighting many of the parenting principles I teach.  Here is a link to the free companion cards I discussed on the  call.  

During this summit I had many many questions sent to me and didn't have time on the call to answer them all, so I am going to answer one of those questions today. 


“I have a daughter who frequently rages and manipulates.  She is out of control almost as often as she is in control.  When I talk to her about her behaviors she doesn't listen.  She looks away and tries to manipulate our emotions.  We tell her that her behaviors are bad and that she needs to be better so that our lives aren't so full of negative feelings, but she just doesn't get it.  What are we doing wrong?” 

Seven Tips For Conversing With A Reluctant Youth


1. Focus on how the actions effect the child, not on how they effect you
2. Keep your questions short and to the point (no lectures)
3. Bring the conversation back to the skill which they had a hard time with (in the case above it would be the skill set for accepting a consequence.)
4. Look them in the eyes (you need to connect with them to keep everyone calm and focused on the conversation.)
5. Describe what is happening and what it teaches you about parenting them more effectively.  (or what the action communicates to you.)  Keep focused on the point; which is to understand the situation and what motivates the person to change and learn.   
6. Seek to Understand (Really care about what they are trying to tell you with their actions while still being firm and communicating deliberately.)
7. Give them a skill they can use to problem solve similar situations in the future.  Practice the new skill.

Really Important Note:

If the youth will not stay calm in the discussion or will not look at you when you are talking then you should not continue to try to have the discussion.  The child is not ready.  They need to be able to follow basic instructions like looking at you and be able to talk calmly and openly back to you. 

I know for some youth this is very difficult, but they can learn in time.  Ask simple questions and give multiple choice questions if they are not comfortable talking about their behaviors and emotions in order to get them going.  Make sure they feel you are a safe person to talk to.  Don't judge or laugh at them.  Help them analyze and make a plan for the future so that they don't have to go through that experience again.

If the child starts raging again or has signs of an attitude problem describe their body language and then  pre-teach them about what they are supposed to do to fix the situation.  If they can't respect you enough to comply then tell them you can't talk with them about it until they are calm.  Never talk to a child when you or they are not calm.  It does no good.   

Click Here For Your Free Copy Of The Teaching Self-Government Companion Cards  

Click here for Nicholeen's Book:  Parenting A House United

Nicholeen's Parenting Blog

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