Lead Your Kids to Listen typography
by Kirk Martin
brother and sister fighting
Oftentimes, we delegate leadership to our kids.
They push our buttons, and we react. They are effectively leading us! Or we may resort to begging, pleading, or yelling. Those are not the actions of a calm, confident leader. And that’s who your kids want and need you to be.

Are you tired of repeating yourself seventeen times? Frustrated that your kids won’t listen or just refuse to do what you say? Exhausted by the pushback and constant explaining? Good. Let’s change this. It’s going to take a few times, but your kids will listen to you.

I don’t want you to be mean, short, abrupt, rushed, or hurried. I don’t want you to be insulting, personal, or sharp in tone. Some parents are afraid their child is going to be upset with them or not like them if they are firm. Now the child is in control because the parents are afraid. Kids pick up on that. They exploit that.

“Kids feel safe when someone is in charge and sets clear limits without pleading or threatening.”
But I do want you to be even, matter-of-fact, confident, like you’re in charge and you know what’s best. There’s no emotion in your voice at all.

“I respect you enough to believe you are capable of following my directions without me having to beg you or talk sweetly to you. I’m not inviting you into a negotiation. I’m giving you a direction and I expect you to follow it.” Kids feel safe when someone is in charge and sets clear limits without pleading or threatening.

It’s confidence. It’s self-respect. I’m a grown adult and I know what’s best for you. But I’m not going to beg, plead or ask you fourteen times. Nor am I going to lose my temper when you don’t listen and resort to yelling and threatening. I’m simply going to tell you, expect that you’re capable, and then follow through by quietly taking action if you don’t do what I ask you to do. There’s no drama, no yelling, nothing personal here.

mother hugging her child
Strong-willed kids don’t care how much you lecture, reason, yell, or plead. You sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher, and they simply ignore you. You think you can somehow reason with them, but they are not looking to be convinced!

They are looking for a leader who takes action. Then and only then will they listen. When you actually do what you say you were going to do, quietly, confidently, humbly.

“I will tell you one time. And then I will take action and do what I promised I would do.” No lectures, no threats, no complaining. Quietly and confidently take action.

I use a funny, slightly exaggerated example at live events of the dad who says, “Hey, Legos need to be off the floor in the next twelve minutes or I’m going to build a bonfire and burn them.” Then he simply walks away. Twelve minutes later, the kids see smoke coming up from the backyard. And here’s what they know. “Oh no, he meant it.” It’s powerful when your kids can trust that you do what you said you were going to do. Just make it reasonable and don’t set your kids up for failure.

So instead of focusing on changing your child’s behavior, first take control of your own. During tantrums, meltdowns, and tense situations, be that calm, confident leader who your kids trust and follow.

You can do it! typography

irk Martin is founder of CelebrateCalm.com. He has shown over 750,000 parents how to stop the yelling, defiance, and power struggles with even the most strong-willed children. Listen to his free podcasts for more tips at: www.CelebrateCalm.com.