Have you ever heard of these books:
If not, I’ve got a new treat for you today!! Because, this book has completely changed how I talk to my kids to get them to listen. And, you know what? It works!!
As you might have guessed, these two books are by the same author, Joanna Faber; as you also might have guessed, the first book is more about how to deal with OLDER kids who understand the consequences of their actions.
Whereas the sequel is about how to deal with YOUNGER kids who won’t understand traditional discipline, or be able to “listen” to you and understand all your words.
Because of course kids need different parenting strategies depending on age...A two-year-old isn’t going to understand you saying, “This behavior is highly disrespectful!”
On the other hand, your eight-year-old or ten-year-old is NOT going to fall for the “let’s make chores FUN” trick...They know better and so you’ll have to try something different!
So then, what is Joanna’s book (and sequel) all about that was so revolutionary to me?
Did you know, a child’s mind doesn’t really start to develop the ability to “put yourself in another person’s shoes” until they are around 10 years of age?
And of course, that doesn’t mean they don’t care about you. It just means, the reason they don’t listen is because they don’t understand WHY they should.
Here’s a really good example...You’re trying and failing to get your 3-year-old to put her socks on. She’s crying and not wanting to do it. Here’s the problem:
You’re trying to get her to use grown-up logic (“socks are warm, socks prevent your feet from getting smelly and getting blisters, socks are part of the outfit”) when SHE only sees with 3-year-old logic...she doesn’t like the socks, and that’s that!
The solution here is to try and understand her needs and wants. Do the socks hurt? Does she not like how they look? Does she not want to leave the house, and putting socks on means leaving the house? She may not be able to verbalize the reason, without you asking these questions. (Asking, “What’s wrong?” may not work. It’s better to ask specific questions to try to get a more specific answer.)
Also, she’s not able to see why YOU want her to put the socks on, or why her doing it would make you happy...
So, as author Joanna Faber says, it makes a lot more sense to turn the putting-on-socks into a game. Make the sock into a puppet, and say, “Oh no! I can’t believe [name] won’t put me on! I’m so sad!” Chances are, your young child will find this game hilarious and serve as a distraction from her initial issues.
Another way to get little kids to listen? Give them a choice:
“Do you want to put on the left sock first or the right sock first? Do you want to walk to the car...or walk BACKWARDS to get to the car?” If you’re providing a fun option, then they’ll see the FUN, rather than the part they don’t like!
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