Parenting - March 2016

When Children Stuffle to Share: Here's How to Help

by Elizabeth Pantly

These are all normal, yet frustrating, scenarios for parents; but there is a simple solution to this problem—read on!

Children are often in their own imaginative world, and they don’t even hear your instructions half the time. Other times they may not think that you’re speaking to them, or they don’t understand what exactly you expect. Regardless of the reason behind it, children of all ages respond much better to purposeful, eye-to-eye conversations, than vague across-the-room requests.

Simply taking the time to get close to your child, and down to your child’s eye level, to talk with him face-to-face can be a very effective approach to gaining cooperation.

When you engage your child in eye-to-eye conversation, you can be assured that you have your child’s full attention. You will know that your child is not ignoring you or not realizing that you are talking to her. Your child will also be better able to read your non-verbal communication signs, such as facial expressions and body language, so that the overall message is much clearer. In return, you’ll be able to read your child’s non-verbal language so that you can tell if she understands what you are saying and how she is reacting to it.

Children often genuinely want to please and understand their parents, but we need to give them the opportunity to have a genuine conversation, where both of you can participate in the exchange.
It may seem like it takes extra time and effort to stop what you’re doing and approach your child instead of shouting to them from the next room. However, you ultimately save yourself time and frustration by not having to repeat yourself over and over. (And over!)

When you need to give your child a direction, take the extra minute or two to get eye-to-eye when you talk with him—clearly and respectfully. Explain what you want and why you want it. Then ask him questions to confirm that he understands you. This exchange of information doesn’t need to take very long, and the pleasant results are well worth it!

Excerpted with permission by McGraw-Hill Publishing from The No-Cry Discipline Solution (McGraw-Hill 2007) by Elizabeth Pantley