How To Get Your Kids To Listen The First Time
16 Comments


Hey, Live On Purpose parents. Today, we’ve
got one of our most popular topics. How to get kids to listen the first time.
I’ve got 5 tips for you. Probably a great place to start with this
particular topic is to ask an obvious question. Why should they listen? Why
should your kids listen? Now, I know as a parent, you’ve got all kinds of great
answers for that don’t you? Yeah. But I’m talking about from the kids perspective.
This is really helpful for us as parents to consider for a moment, why should they
listen from their perspective? Now, this changes the game a little bit because
our approach to our kids will be adjusted based on our understanding of
why they should listen in the first place. We have to have an answer to that
question that makes sense to them. Because you as a parent have a whole
different level of thinking. Now, in other videos here on the channel, we’ve talked
about 3 stages of moral development. If you want a quick review of that, just
hit the positive parenting playlist and you can scroll through a bunch of
different videos so that we have there. There’s one in particular called
teaching kids responsibility that will review those 3 stages with you. The
reason I mention that is because at different stages of development. kids are
going to have different answers for that question. Why should they listen to you?
Might be good to know what their answer to that question is. Now, at stage 1
kids are very self-centered. They’re not mature enough yet to have that moral
reasoning that would tell them, “Oh, I should listen to my mom because she’s my
mom and she knows best.” No. They’re not at that level yet. At stage 1, it’s very
self centered. So, they’re thinking in terms of consequences. That means we need
to have an effective use of consequences get our kids to listen to us. Now, at the stage 2, they’re willing to communicate rationally. And so we’ll
approach them a little differently. Stage 3, you don’t even have to worry
about that because they’re doing really great thinking on their own. Most of the
time when people are concerned about getting their kids to listen, it’s
because they’re on stage 1. So, let’s go to some strategies that work really well
for Stage 1 kids. Remember these are the ones who aren’t really thinking
about how does my behavior impact other people. They’re not really thinking about
what’s the right thing to do. They’re still at a stage of development that has
them thinking, “Okay. What’s in this for me? Or am I going to get clobbered if I do
this?” It’s very externalized. We want to meet them on their level. Getting on our
kids level has a couple of different meanings. You have to understand what
stage they’re on. And you want to be physically on their level. If you’re
towering way up here in your child’s way down here, they’re not going to connect
with what you’re saying and probably won’t be listening the first time. So get
down on their level. Meet them where they are. You might want to get right on the
floor if you’re talking to a toddler. You might want to crouch down a little bit.
Get physically on their level and then use very clear language that makes sense
to them based on their development. Once you get on your child’s level, here’s
another interesting thing for you to think about. How important is it for you
that they listen to you. I’m asking that because that changes your energy as a
parent. I think you’re going to be much more effective in communicating with
your child if you let go of your need for them to listen to you. Let go of your
need. There’s a couple of psychological reasons why this is powerful and
important to remember. If it’s you that’s all uptight about, “Oh, is my kid listening?”
Then you’re going to approach them in a way that will
actually cause a little bit of defensiveness or recoil in your child.
When you let go of your need for them to listen to you, we’re shifting the
responsibility from your shoulders over to theirs. And now, it becomes more
important for them to listen. Now, there’s a lot of ways that you can do this
effectively as a parent. And probably, the most important way is to have effective
consequences. Most of the time when parents talk to their kids, they deliver
the first message and the kids hear my [Quack, quack, quack] It’s kind of like the old Charlie
Brown movies. Remember when the adults are speaking it’s like…[Quack, quack, quack.] And they don’t
hear a thing. It’s because they’ve learned that it’s not important the
first time. The second time, they might hear the same thing. The third time you
might be upset enough that your voice goes up a few decibels and you get
really serious about following through with some kind of a consequence and
that’s when they listen. Hello! Time to wake up and see what’s actually working.
They’re listening because the consequence follows the communication. Oh…
Well, what would happen if we moved the consequence up to right after the first
communication? Then we’re training them to listen the first time. I still
remember this father that came in to see me. He had a couple of kids and was being
the primary parent at home while mom was working. And he was so frustrated that
these kids would not listen to him until he had talked to him 12 times. Why do I
have to tell my kids 12 times before they’ll do anything. And I asked him an
important question. I said, “Why do they do it the 12th time?” He’s like… “Oh..” And it
dawned on him. That that’s when he has reached a level of volume and intensity
and seriousness that his kids knew it’s time to pay attention. That’s
why they listened that 12th time. So, I said, “Why don’t you just move that up to
the first time?” Now, you don’t have to get all angry and your face turns red. Those
are just the signals that his kids had learned indicate that there’s a
consequence coming. And it doesn’t have to be red face and high-volume. You can
talk in a very calm voice with a smile. In fact, you know what? I think when
parents are smiling, kids are thinking. Pretty good little rule of thumb. Makes
them nervous. They’re wondering what you know that they don’t. Well that’s good.
Because we want them to think. And this triggers the thinking. So we move the
consequences up to happen right after the first communication. And most parents
will give at least 2 or 3 communications before a consequence.
We’re training our kids to wait. And all they hear is [Wah, wah, wah!] until they know
that you’re serious. And you don’t have to be all red-faced and loud for them to
know that you’re serious. It just has to be followed by an immediate consequence.
Now, I promised you 5 tips at the beginning. The next one is really
important. Let’s do a quick review. You’re going to ask yourself, “Why should they
listen?” And come up with a good reason that makes sense to them, not you. Second,
you want to get on their level which means that you meet them at their level
of development but also physically bring yourself down to whatever level they’re
on. If they’re small, you get yourself a little smaller so that they’ll listen to
you. Third, let go of your need to have them
listen. It’s off your shoulders, it’s on to theirs. Fourth use effective
consequences and move them up in the sequence so that it happens right after
the first communication. You know, tip number 5. Are you ready? This one is
powerful. Repeat. Do it again. Because they’ve got
to have a chance to learn something. And repetition helps them to do just that.
Parenting. It’s a tough job. You’ve got this. And we’ve got you. Because the
Parenting Power-Up is available for you to power up your parenting. If you
haven’t checked it out yet, click on the links down below or right over there to
the side and you can connect immediately to a powerful course that Vicki and I
have put together to help you as a parent.

16 thoughts on “How To Get Your Kids To Listen The First Time

  1. 1 ask yourself why they should listen to you
    Effective use of consequences

    2 Get down on their level physically

    how important is it for you for them to listen
    Let go of your need for

    Effective consequences – consequence follows communication

    Volume & intensity &
    When parents are smiling kids are thinking

    3 Let go of your need for them to listen to you

    4 use effective Consequences
    Move consequences to happen immediately after communication

    5 repetition!!

  2. Love, love, love this. One of my biggest problems is that sometimes I don't feel like I can follow up with an immediate consequence. Either I'm cooking dinner, helping another child with homework, tending to a sick child, disciplining 1 of 2 children that got into a fight, or many other distractions. Rarely a quiet moment at my house. Nonetheless, great tips, Dr. Paul! I'll just keep trying to apply your amazing advice whenever possible.

  3. Thank you so much Dr.Paul for always reminding us to be positive specially handling our children.😊😊😊

  4. πŸ˜ŠπŸ™‚πŸ˜˜πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ’πŸ’—πŸ’ŒπŸ’•πŸ’–πŸ’žπŸ’«β­πŸŒ πŸŒŸπŸ”₯πŸ”₯🌺🌻🌼🌸πŸ₯€πŸŒΉπŸžπŸπŸ¦‹πŸŽΆπŸŽ‰βœ¨πŸŽΆπŸ”‘πŸ§žβ€β™‚οΈπŸ’°πŸ’΅πŸ’°πŸ’΅

  5. This makes sense. Thanks for this. I have a 3 year old and he is definitely at stage 1. He definitely waits till the consequences are said until he does it unless we had a good day of connecting he might do it without the consequence.

  6. I love your teachings! Please give examples of things parents could do when you say that we should move the consequence to the beginning.

  7. Very good information but I struggle with a consequence for a nearly 2yr old. Any tips please, quiet time does not work for πŸ˜•

  8. Thanku for sharing tip but can u please exain more how we let it go off our shoulder ..? N how to make those 12th time consequence the very second consequence , i mean my kid dont even listen with smiling face n calm voice never ever..even the amgry firm tone from start doesn't work for me either..what does it mean..my kid is 4 years old

  9. Will this principle work on able-bodied parents to wash their own dishes, or is this more of a "remove the tickle factor" solution? Or is it more, forget helping my parents move, live on my own again so I don't have to babysit anyone? Long story short, one cannot treat parents like room mates and expect everyone will take care of themselves. (I've already looked in your videos; I searched "adult living with parents" but couldn't find anything). Thank you, Dr. Paul, for any advice you have.

  10. I was trying to talk nicely and use please and thank you. No reaction. I raise my voice and then they react. But, it's exhausting and I am tired of raising my voice all the time. I might need to practice the consequences more. Time out does not quite do it anymore…

  11. Great episode! I feel so good and able to be a positive parent. Thanks, Dr. Paul, for your great humor πŸ‘ I was laughing while I’ve watched the video ☺️

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