Every parent, at some point, has been in a situation where it was difficult to get children to listen. Sometimes, the reason is distraction, stubbornness, or simply because they are preoccupied with plenty of things going through their minds. Hence, as parents, we need to be patient and calm in conversing with children.
We cannot be forceful. We cannot dictate. We have to use a gentle tone for them to reciprocate and respond. Also, it’s important that do not repeat the same thing if the children aren’t listening to you. You need to get your child’s attention in a way that it doesn’t look like you are nagging. Be a person of fewer words. This means until you literally have your child’s attention, don’t just keep talking.
Don’t assume that your child is listening to and grasping everything you are saying. When you get a little attention from your child, then ask questions or explain things to him/her.
It’s important to see from your child’s perspective and what your child is trying to tell you as opposed to what you want your child to hear. Understand where your child is coming from and establish a middle ground where you both agree upon something. For example, if your child wants to do a certain activity if it’s playtime and you want your child to study, you can come to a consensus. Like you can tell your child, I won’t give you more than five to 10 minutes and then shake hands on this and not argue. Here, co-operation matters. This will enable the child to do what s/he wants and also listen to you since you are giving that liberty.
My daughter is a preteen and has her share of tantrums. Though I don’t agree on many things with her, I don’t lose my cool. I used to ground her, which meant no TV time, such small things. But then it didn’t work in my favour. Earlier, to get my daughter’s attention, I started talking with her in GenZ lingo. Hence, the best way is to communicate and call a truce.
It is challenging as a parent, but you just have to make your child understand where point as well. Being strict, giving them a punishment, and forcing them to do something they don’t want, will only make them rebel. It will only boomerang, so it’s best to handle the situation with no aggression involved.
Finally, when your child has your attention, make a list of non-negotiable things so your child knows what is acceptable and what isn’t. I also feel using eye contact is important. It helps communicate better and the child understands the seriousness of the situation.
Every parent has devised his/her own methods to get the child to pay heed. At the end of the day, what might work for you need not work for someone else. Be aware and observant of what your child needs and the rest will fall in place.
(Riddhima Kapoor Sahni is a jewellery designer, and daughter of veteran actors Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Kapoor)