Patti Cancellier: Hi! I'm Patti Cancellier, the Education Coordinator and a Parent Educator for the Parent Encouragement Program. I'm talking about why children don't listen. And now I'll discuss how to be consistent with your child. Work to be as consistent as you can in the way you deliver your message to your child and in how you follow through with actions. When we are inconsistent, we undo the good work we have already done. If we give in to our child's efforts at negotiating a different outcome from us once out of every 15 times, he becomes convinced that it is always possible to change our minds.
Even though we successfully avoided his efforts to engage on some 14 other occasions, he still has the idea from that one time we gave in, the negotiation is possible. That it's possible to bend or change the rules. Research on what's called intermittent reinforcement has shown that it's actually more powerful in consistently reinforcing a behavior.
It has a result of cementing the behavior that is intermittently reinforced. So, we don't want that to happen, we want to be able to state what has to be done without an argument from our child. Believe it or not children don't want their parents to be inconsistent, to bend and to break rules; it leaves them feeling insecure. They don't like chaos, they want routine and limits. They want to know what is going to happen and when it will happen. Therefore, work to be as consistent as you can be, it will make life easier for everyone.
To answer the question, why don't my kids listen to me? We have learned that we may have trained our kids to be parent deaf, to ignore us until we reach the point of following through. Or it maybe we are using the old ways to parent that no longer work the same way in our present society. We have learned how to make our words really matter by getting the child's attention, stating the request once, and following through without further talking.
We have learned several ways to phrase our requests, you might give a limited choice or make use of Grandma's Rule with a when-then statement. You can also use an either-or statement or simply one word to remind the child of what he already knows. And finally, we talked about the importance of being consistent in applying these techniques. I hope this techniques help you to make your children better listeners.