parenting, discipline, talking to kids

A parent disciplines his child.

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:

“Wake up.”

“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.

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.

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Researchers nail down scientific 'biomarker' for SIDS and it could be a lifesaver

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Photo by Picsea on Unsplash

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