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Family Communication: How to Get Your Child to Listen to You

Updated: Feb 27

Have you ever asked yourself, 'Why won't my children ever listen to me?!' This is a common issue in child and teen therapy and one that most parents face. Whether it's persuading your kids to leave the park, get them to the dinner table, or ensuring they complete chores and homework—getting children to obey can be a struggle.


While it's common for parents to find themselves in a power struggle, demanding immediate obedience from children often leads to frustration. It's crucial to remember that children, despite their smaller stature, are human beings, just like us. Let's consider a situation most adults have experienced: You've had a long day at work, and you're finally about to unwind with a hot cup of tea and your favorite Netflix show. Suddenly, your tranquility is interrupted by a partner demanding an immediate kitchen clean-up. Not the best feeling, right?


Empathy and Connection: Key to Child and Teen Therapy

The first step towards enhancing communication and getting your child to listen is to empathize and connect. Pause, step into their world, and show genuine interest in their day. By fostering empathy with children, you lay the foundation for a positive relationship—a crucial aspect of family therapy. People are more likely to listen to someone they have a good rapport with, and your child is no exception.


Predictability and Consistency: Building a Routine for your Child

Next, providing an overview of the day's plan to your child in advance helps establish predictability and consistency. For example, saying, 'After dinner, we'll spend 20 minutes on homework, and then you can watch some TV,' feels more comforting than an abrupt, 'Time for homework now!'. These consistent routines can help encourage child obedience in a respectful and understanding way.


Setting Realistic Expectations: Helping your Child Succeed

Part of family therapy involves setting realistic expectations to alleviate unnecessary stress. Ask yourself, 'Is it fair to expect my child to do chores right after a long, tiring day?' Always consider the feasibility of what you're asking them to do and make necessary adjustments.


Positive Reinforcement: Boosting your Child's Self-Esteem

Lastly, don't underestimate the power of praise and rewards as a method of child motivation. Knowing there's leisure time after homework or receiving a verbal compliment for a job well done can motivate your child to overcome difficult tasks. These simple acts of positive reinforcement for children can significantly boost their self-esteem.


Through empathizing with our children, we realize that active listening isn't an effortless task, even for adults. By adopting these strategies, we can improve the communication dynamics within the family, foster a nurturing environment, and effectively contribute to our child's self-esteem and motivation.

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