Parents have a lot of stress in their lives. One thing that will cause even more stress is when your child won’t listen to you, no matter what you say or do. This can be incredibly frustrating for parents who are already running on low energy and patience levels. The good news is that there are many strategies that parents can use to get their children to listen without yelling!
Giving your child choices is an effective way to get them to listen without yelling. They feel empowered when making these decisions on their own.
For example, if you want your daughter to do the dishes before watching TV tonight, instead of saying “Do the dishes,” try giving her a choice between doing them before or after dinner. This way, she can still feel like part of the decision-making process.
When using this strategy, make sure that your choices are limited and reasonable (e.g., “Do the dishes before dinner or after your bath”). Otherwise, you risk overwhelming and confusing your child.
Use Positive Reinforcement.
Another way to get children to listen without yelling is by using positive reinforcement.
For example, if you want your child to help out around the house more often, instead of nagging them about it, constantly try thanking them for helping when they make an effort of their own.
This will likely encourage them to continue helping and show that good behavior isn’t something you need to explicitly tell them but rather is rewarded with praise. When using this strategy, be sure not to criticize bad behavior (e.g., “You didn’t clean up your toys!”) because they may feel stressed or defensive instead of inspired toward improvement.
Instead, save these conversations for when your child is calm and ready to listen (e.g., “I noticed you didn’t clean up your toys today, but I appreciate that you helped me make dinner”).
Set Clear Boundaries and Consequences.
If you give your child the impression that there are no boundaries and consequences, they will not know how to behave.
Set clear rules and enforce them! This is especially important if it’s something new, for example: “Every time we go shopping with grandma, she doesn’t like when you turn on the radio in the car so let’s leave it off, okay?”
Also, make sure to follow through with the consequence if your child doesn’t listen.
For example: “Okay, if you turn on the radio in grandma’s car, we will have to leave and go home.”
If your child does not listen to you, follow through with the consequence. If they turn on the radio in grandma’s car, leave and go home.
This will teach them that there are boundaries and consequences when listening because actions do have consequences!
If you’re telling your child to do something, it must be done every time. If they can get away with not doing it sometimes, then that behavior will continue and become a habit.
Children are very good at figuring out what rules apply to them and which ones don’t so keep this in mind as you develop them and enforce them.
You also need to make sure your expectations for the behavior are reasonable. Just because you want your child to always clean up after themselves doesn’t mean they will. They are kids, and it is unreasonable for them to be expected to do that just as well as an adult would under the same circumstances!
If there is a behavior or attitude that needs fixing, then break down what you expect from them into small steps to succeed at each one before moving on to the next. This way, if they fail on steps three, four, or five, it won’t seem like such a big deal because success was achieved with previous steps along the way rather than only having failed to show for their efforts which makes any future attempts unlikely.
As soon as kids get a little older, they begin testing boundaries and figuring out what they can get away with, so this step is vital for parents of school-aged children. You also must ensure that everyone in the family knows how things work regarding chores or whatever else you expect from them. Consistency across the board will ensure no mixed messages are being sent from one household member to another.
When you tell your child to do something, they must follow through. If they don’t listen the first time and you raise your voice, yelling will only make them tune out further next time around!
Be patient – if necessary, repeat yourself calmly but firmly until they get the message. Children can be slow at times (and we know this!) so give them some extra help without getting too frustrated or impatient with them for not picking up on things quickly enough.
Remember: kids learn from repetition. It might take ten tries before they listen perfectly every single time… but by repeating yourself over and over again throughout their day in a calm manner instead of losing your temper when they don’t listen, they’ll eventually learn how to do what you ask them to.
Be a Role Model.
Children learn from watching us. If you want your child to listen without yelling at them every time they don’t follow through with what you say… you have to be the best role model for this type of behavior!
It’s not just about being calm when they’re acting up. It means that any time their actions are hurting someone, or something around them (hitting another kid on the playground, throwing things in anger), teach them how to express themselves better next time by calmly sharing why doing these things isn’t okay.
By modeling good listening skills yourself whenever possible, your kids will follow suit.
Connect With Your Child.
When you’re having a conversation with your child, make them feel important to you.
Remember that even when they are difficult or disrespectful in some way… they still need love and attention! Make sure the lines of communication remain open at all times by responding to questions or requests calmly.
If you give your child the impression that they are not important to you and only their misbehavior matters… they will continue acting out in this manner because it’s what gets them noticed.
Take a deep breath when things get heated instead of screaming at them right away. Let them know how much you care about even if they’re making mistakes by connecting with them (and asking questions) rather than simply scolding or punishing them for bad behavior.
Use Time-Outs Sparingly.
Time-outs work, but only if you use them sparingly. If you’re going to use a time-out as punishment for bad behavior, ask yourself if it’s indispensable. In many cases, connecting with them calmly instead of resorting to this type of discipline can be much more helpful than giving in to frustration which often leads parents down the path towards yelling at their kids… which only makes things worse!
It might take twice as long but using other forms of discipline besides simply sending your kid away from everyone else is usually better in the long run. Time-outs are ineffective if they’re used as a go-to punishment for every time your child misbehaves.
Remember: they’re just kids! They don’t know any better, and if we can remain calm, it will help them learn how to listen.
Nagging is one of the WORST things you can do as a parent…and it’s also something that leads to yelling at your children. If we nag our kids for not listening, they will feel frustrated and angry towards us because we’re always telling them what to do instead of just asking once or twice!
Children need time and space to learn how to listen without getting upset about every single thing – having parents around who constantly remind them all day long isn’t going to help with this process. Instead of reminding repeatedly, try giving some extra attention when they are doing well (like praising their behavior) so that they know you’re watching and that you care about how they act.
Nagging leads to yelling… so make sure it’s something you avoid for your kids to learn from example instead of always following orders!
Make it a game.
Sometimes kids just need to play! If your child is frustrated or angry because they aren’t getting their way, consider making an activity into a game that will help them calm down.
For example: if you’re in the car and things are starting to escalate… have them count how many red cars pass by instead of continuing with whatever stressful conversation was taking place.
Kids are kids – they play and laugh to avoid feeling upset or angry. If you can tap into this playful side of your child instead of forcing them to listen they will learn how much more fun it is when everyone gets along!
Laugh together, have fun, and ensure that the lines of communication remain open at all times by responding calmly rather than resorting to punishment tactics like time-outs. Let your child know that you’re on their team instead of trying to get them to listen by making everything into an adventure or game they can enjoy as long as everyone plays nice.
We’ve all been there. Our child is being particularly stubborn, and we just want them to listen without yelling at them. It can be hard for parents to try their best to stay calm in the face of a tantrum or argument with their kids. The good news is that there are many steps we can take to help our kids listen. We hope you found the ten strategies for making your child listen without yelling helpful.
What strategy did your family find most useful? Comment below and let us know! The more comments we get, the more helpful our blog content becomes – so please share this with other parents needing advice on how to be better parents.
Marcella Raskin is the founder & editor-in-chief. She is a passionate and articulate writer who has dedicated her life to studying human potential. She has studied Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Life Purpose Coaching, Group Life Coaching. She loves helping women (and men) explore themselves through writing, which allows for an exploration into one’s thoughts on entrepreneurship or personal development topics such as mindset-shaping techniques that can positively shape someone’s perspectives about themselves when they don’t think it could ever happen! She practices sports and has studied Exercise Physiology. She is married and the mother of two girls.