Do you wonder how to get kids to listen to you? How many times do you say something to your child that gets completely ignored? Sometimes you end up yelling before you are heard and then everyone feels bad. It’s extremely frustrating and upsetting.
It makes your job as a parent much more difficult when your kids don’t listen to you. It’s exhausting, really.
Children’s brains are constantly taking things in all around them, so you are competing with a lot of stimuli to get your child’s attention.
Most of the time they want to cooperate, but kids have priorities of their own. They are constantly exploring and their main priority is to play. They can get pretty wrapped up in their play to a point that they block out everything else.
How to Get Kids to Listen to You
You can’t make your kids listen to you without damaging your relationship. But you can encourage cooperation through connection so that they will want to listen to you.
Brain research shows that people are more open to another person’s influence if they feel connected to them. The most effective way to engage cooperation with anyone is to first calmly connect and then make a request.
This is especially true for children. If your kids don’t feel connected to you, they will be defiant and resistant to your rules and guidance. I’ll share some suggestions on how to calmly connect and engage cooperation with your kids in another post. But I first want to point out something significant:
It’s hard to be calm when your kids don’t listen!
Why is this so hard?
Let’s be real. It’s not easy to show up as the calm, connected parent you want to be when you’ve got responsibilities, schedules, tons to do, and a lot to worry about.
There also might be something deeper going on….
We all want to be seen, heard and appreciated. These are core human needs. Most of us have had experiences as children or in significant relationships where we didn’t feel heard.
When you were a child, did you feel truly seen, heard and appreciated by your parents? Or were your thoughts and feelings mostly discounted or ignored?
I think this is one of the reasons why it feels so bad when our kids don’t listen to us. It can bring up this deep longing to be heard that was never really met.
When your child ignores you, it can trigger some deep unresolved feelings that show up as anger and yelling. In this triggered state you want to act out, trying to solve it with threats or consequences.
But here’s the problem…
Threats, consequences and yelling actually lessens your influence and creates more power struggles.
If your children feel like you don’t understand them and are trying to control them, they will be resentful – and that’s what leads to all the struggle. It’s vitally important to recognize this and create an ongoing safe space for your kids to feel heard and understood.
Connection is the only reason your kids willingly follow your rules. When you have an ongoing strong connected relationship with your kids, they actually want to cooperate, and they will listen to you.
Why is connection so important?
A connected relationship with you – the most important person in their life – helps to develop your children’s emotional intelligence and the executive functioning in their brain.
When kids are emotionally intelligent, they are more sensitive to the cues of others and have the ability to see and feel something from another’s point of view. They have the ability to regulate and manage their feelings, including anger and frustration around disappointment.
Executive function is the ability to follow directions, prioritize, perform tasks and solve problems. It’s also needed to regulate emotions, impulses and actions. All children are on an ongoing path to develop more sophisticated executive functioning, and it may not be fully developed until age 30.
All of these things relate to your child’s behavior and whether they are able to listen and cooperate with you. Children need an understanding parent who is calm, patient and can hold the emotional space for them so they can develop these abilities.
In moments of yelling or threatening consequences, kids brains go into a stress response and the part of the brain that controls executive functioning shuts down. Then it becomes more difficult for them to see your point of view and want to cooperate. They may cooperate out of fear of consequences, but they will be less likely to be influenced by your guidance in the future. Would you rather your children be empowered and self-motivated to follow your guidance instead of doing what you say out of fear?
Connecting with your kids with understanding and empathy is the only way you can truly influence and guide your kids and have a peaceful cooperative home. And quite honestly, it’s what makes parenting really worth it for you – to be able to feel that sweet deep connection with the ones you love so much.
How do you consistently create a strong connected relationship with your kids when you have a lot of stressful, tired moments and are dealing with a lot of challenges?
It’s actually easier than you might think. What I came to understand through many years of training is that there are specific foundational steps that parents can take to begin building a connected relationship with their children. These steps are not difficult or time-consuming. It simply takes a shift in mindset and a willingness to make some changes.
With this in mind, I created the Calm Connected Parenting Program to help you to change what’s not working and create cooperation with your children. In this program I show you the key components and steps to more deeply understand your child and create more connection. I walk you through what happens in your brain when you are frustrated and upset so that you know how to use it to your advantage when your child is being difficult. I help you to have the energy and emotional resilience to get connected with your kids so they will start listening and cooperating. You will have a whole different relationship to stress so you can begin to have an ongoing sense of well-being within yourself and experience a more fun and light-hearted way of being with your kids.
It soon becomes easy and natural for you to be happily connected with your kids. They will embrace your guidance and rules because it feels good to them to do so. You can become the parent you’ve always wanted to be, with a family life that is peaceful, enjoyable and satisfying.
Even within the limited time they have available, parents begin seeing phenomenal transformation in their kids’ behavior in just a few weeks after implementing some changes. I’d love to help you see the same results!
I invite you to schedule a phone call with me. On this 45 minute free assessment call, we’ll talk about the specific struggles that exist in your family right now so I can help you determine what you can do to resolve it.
Together, we will figure out exactly what your best next steps are to decrease the meltdowns, improve communication and cooperation, and most importantly, achieve a deeper connection with your child.
Schedule your appointment now while I still have some spots available. There is no cost to you and it could change everything.
Learn more and schedule a free call.
Jane Sheppard CPC
Certified Parenting Coach
Functional Medicine Health Coach
National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Read next . . .
Read all of the posts in this series . . .
Read Introduction What’s Causing Your Child’s Meltdowns
Read Post #1 Is Your Angry Child Purposefully Defiant or Emotionally Stressed?
Read Post #2 What Causes Stress in Children?
Read Post #3 Underlying Physical Imbalances May Cause Aggressive Meltdowns
Read Post #4 ADHD Meltdown: Get to the Root Cause of the Explosive Behavior
Read Post #5 How to Get Your Kids to Listen and Cooperate
Read Post #6 4 Steps to Help Your Kids Through Their Worst Meltdowns
Read Post #7 How to Prevent the Meltdowns and Create Peace in Your Family
Discover the Underlying Causes for Your Child’s Behavior
If you feel overwhelmed and frustrated with your kids, it’s likely there is a deeper need they are trying to communicate to you. If you’re ready to find a real solution instead of temporary quick fixes, then I’d love to show you what you can do to go from a chaotic parenting experience to a calm and cooperative relationship with your child.
I am currently offering a limited number of free assessment calls to help you identify your child’s needs and motivations behind the behavior so you can know exactly what to do to resolve it.
Here’s what we will do on your free 45-minute session:
- I provide a judgement-free, confidential space for you to talk about the specific struggles that exist in your family right now so I can help you determine what you can do to resolve it.
- Together, we will figure out exactly what your best next steps are to decrease those meltdowns, improve communication and cooperation, and most importantly, achieve a deeper connection with your child.
Find the clarity you need by scheduling your assessment call now!