Parenting can seem a lot like parroting. You repeat the same demands over and over again. “Get in the car,” “Put on your shoes,” “Stop putting your finger in the light socket “ … the list goes on and on. As parents, we don’t want to sound like a nag; we’d like them to listen the first time, but sometimes it seems impossible. No parent is perfect nor any child, so the struggle continues.
Just imagine a blissful morning where you only have to say the following phrases just once:
“Put on your clothes.”
“Finish your breakfast.”
"Brush your teeth.”
“Grab your backpack.”
“Get in the car."
Or, even better, would be never having to say them in the first place. This will never happen for 99% of all parents, but the good news is that you’re not alone.
Adam Rittenberg, senior writer for college football at ESPN, asked his followers what they have to tell their kids incessantly and he got back a list that every parent will understand.
Curious about the most recited phrases for other parents with young kids. Mine is easily: "Put your shoes on."\n\nIt goes unanswered at least 10 times per day.— Adam Rittenberg (@Adam Rittenberg) 1642599694
Number one repeated phrase out of my mouth to my kids “Please don’t…” of which they promptly do.— Bobby Means (@itsbmeansyall) January 19, 2022
"Get away from my face" has to be #1 for my wife and I.— Gruff Sparty (@GruffSparty_) January 19, 2022
Our 3-year-old is still very clingy. We're working on it.
"Leave your sister alone" or "I am going to count to 3" are the two leaders here right now. Those are just directed at the 3 year old.— Jay Haskovec (@jayhutch40) January 19, 2022
Put your shoes away, put your dishes away, and throw that away— OK_Braintrust (@OK_Braintrust) January 19, 2022
“Sit down while you eat” and “leave your brother/sister alone” find the repeat button in our household all day— Andrew McCleary (@cfp4_us) January 19, 2022
When we are trying to leave the house for any reason, I have to say “get in the car” at least 10 times before the entire family actually gets in the car.— Chad Osler (@oslercpa) January 19, 2022
“Get up! We’re going to be late” …to my middle schooler.— Dustin Jay (@CanIGoCamping) January 19, 2022
"Put your clothes on" on average 3 times before it's done— DamirSD (@dspot23) January 19, 2022
Mine is “Why would you do that?”— Dave Nemeth (@dnemeth11) January 19, 2022
“Use your inside voice”!— Caned (@MrCaned5150) January 19, 2022
Better than mine. “Where are your shoes?”— Elia Powers (@EliaPowers) January 19, 2022
So how do we get our children to listen the first time? Is it even possible? Erica Reischer Ph.D. has some tips in Psychology Today that can help parents get on the right track. One of the most important is to make sure to cultivate the habit of paying attention.
“Because if you tend to ask again and again (and again), and then either give up and do it yourself—or resort to yelling—you may be unintentionally teaching your kids that you can be ignored until you either give up (you didn’t really mean it) or you yell (now you mean it),” Reischer writes.
She also said to be sure to let them know the consequences of not listening.
“Fair warning is critical because if children know in advance what the consequences will be for breaking a rule or ignoring a request, then they are making a choice about their behavior: whether they are going to follow the rule, or break the rule and bear the consequences. There are no surprises,” Reischer says.
It’s also important that parents follow through with any threats or else they will have no teeth. If you count to three to get the child to listen and after finishing the count there aren’t any consequences, they’ll eventually stop listening. But if you follow through every time, they will start paying attention very quickly.
There’s another great piece of parenting advice that seems to apply to just about every situation, “What you permit, you teach.” Whatever behaviors we allow our children to do, whether we like them or not, we reinforce.
Parenting is tough, but as the tweet thread above shows, we’re not in it alone. Parents from all walks of life have the same struggles because every kid seems to be blessed with the miracle of selective hearing. Unless, of course, you ask if they want ice cream, then they’re all ears.
- School responds to a parent's book complaint by reading it aloud to ... ›
- Oreo's 'Proud Parent' short film is the most beautiful thing you'll ... ›
- Dad's genius iPhone video hack is a gift for every parent out there ... ›
- Mom has TikTok viewers in stitches after revealing she got her son's birthday wrong—for years - Upworthy ›