Do Kids Listen to You?
When we are confused and frustrated it often means that we don't have enough information. So how do you get information that will allow a person to listen and act according to what you desire? For those of you who know me, it won't come as any surprise when I tell you the solution to getting more information is to ask a question. You may ask a question of yourself or of the child when a child is not engaged in listening.
"What does this child need that I am not acknowledging?" What do I know about this child that will assist me in knowing what is needed?” Asking these questions will allow an awareness to come forth that will give you information about what a child needs that may need to be addressed before you can ask or tell them anything. It could be that the child is too tired to process what you are saying, or perhaps they are hungry or anxious. You will begin to know that you are wasting your energy by not addressing the needs first, by asking them a question like “What do you need right now? Is there something that you need now?” Asking these questions also allows the child to begin to be aware of what they need to attend to when they can’t be present.
“Is there another way that I can talk to this child?" When one way of speaking to your child isn’t working, try something else. I can’t tell you how many times I have witnessed parents who continually use the same tone, same lecture, same way of trying to connect to their child that turns the child off. You may find that be engaging your child in the topic you are talking about they will be more interested in what you have to say. You may consider asking the child, “What do you think of this? What ideas do you have about this? What would work best for you in this situation?” This allows the child to be engaged, have his thoughts valued and to also have a say in what it is you are talking about. This also builds your child’s confidence as they begin to get a sense that you acknowledge that they know something.
"What energy can I be that will allow us to connect in a different way?" Different situations require parents to be different energies. For life and death matters, you may need to be more intense (similar to an angry energy but without the judgment), some situations may call for you to be silly and humorous to break the anxiety, or nervousness, and some may require that you be soft and gentle like a breeze. This too, will allow the child to be open to hearing what you have to say. All too often we use the serious intense energy to get our points across, when in truth many things in life are not that serious and can still be approached with a different energy.
Asking questions will lead to the information that we need if we keep asking and are open to being aware of what is showing up. Sometimes we don’t get an immediate awareness on a question we ask, and if that happens be willing to see if what you have to say can wait until you do get the awareness. I have found many times that what I had to say, never really had to be said in the first place and when an awareness didn’t come, it kept me from saying anything. Much can be communicated without words and what if just being for your child is all that is needed at the time. What would it take to be at peace with silence?
We all know more than we are willing to admit we know. We may need some practice being able to tune into what we know and what we are aware of. It takes time, and it is well worth it.
What’s your favorite question to ask when you get confused or frustrated? I know you know more than you are letting on.