Erica Reischer Ph.D.

What Great Parents Do

Why Your Kids Are Ignoring You

You may be unintentionally teaching your kids to ignore what you say.

Posted Nov 05, 2014

Has this ever happened to you? You are patiently asking your child to do something, like get their shoes on so you can leave the house.  You are managing to stay—or at least sound—calm, even though your child seems to be ignoring you.

You’re not sure exactly how many times you’ve asked when, finally, your patience wears thin and you find yourself yelling—GET YOUR SHOES ON NOW!—and they (finally) hop to it and start getting their shoes on.

Even though you don’t plan to yell, it seems to work when nothing else does, so before long you find yourself yelling more often that you would like.

In my parent coaching practice, I call this pattern: ask ask ask…yell.  One of my clients calls it: nice Mommy, nice Mommy, nice Mommy…mean Mommy.

So what’s wrong with this pattern, since most likely you don’t yell all the time and it does seem to get the job done?  One problem is that, over time, this pattern of communication is creating a bad habit for both you and your kids.

Your kids are effectively learning that they can ignore you until you yell, or to put it another way, that you only really mean it when you yell.  (More on that here).  And you are learning from their response to yell in order to get their attention. 

Over time, this dynamic creates a disfunctional pattern of communication that keeps everyone stuck.

What to do instead?  In short, the answer is to work on creating a new habit for your kids, the habit of listening and responding to you. 

In my next post, I will outline specific steps to take in order to help your kids develop this important habit.

Copyright 2014, Erica Reischer, Ph.D.

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