What is it?
One of my favorite quotes from Jane Nelsen, Ed.D., co founder of the Positive Discipline Foundation, is:
Children will listen to you AFTER they feel listened to.
And she points out that when parents say their children don't listen, what they often mean is "My child doesn't obey." Take a moment and think about that. Is it possible that you aren't modeling what listening is all about? When your child tells you something, are you more likely to get defensive? Try to 'fix' her feelings? Tell him what you think? A simple option is to remind yourself that you are quite curious to understand what your child is going through. If you have young children and you don't feel curious, I guarantee you will be when they are teenagers so I recommend practicing today!
How to Address It?
Simply turn on your curiosity and be intentional. Think detective: what are they really thinking and trying to communicate to me? Instead of telling your children what happened, what caused it to happen, how they should feel about it and what to do about it, let them inform you. Instead of telling, try asking.
Your Script in Action
Child: The teacher got really mad today because four people logged on late.
Parent: Well, good for you for being there on time. It's disrespectful to be late. Those kids should be punished. I have a thing about people being late. Once when I....
Hmmm, what did you think about that?
Hmmm, why do you think the teacher got so mad?
Hmmm, why do you think they were late?
Hmmm, what do you think the teacher will do about that?
GOT A MINUTE?
Look for one opportunity today to be curious. Just one. And see what you learn. You might be surprised. Bonding and connection is simply the culmination of little interactions that increase the level of trust and build a relationship. Be curious, and then hopefully they’ll reach out again.
Click here for a list of open-ended questions that might help you get curious.
Click here for my blog on when I dared to use 'I'm Curious'.