Oh if I had a dollar for every time I was asked this question in the clinic…let’s just say I would be sunning myself somewhere, drink in hand! To top it off though – I’m guilty of complaining about this as a parent myself! Sometimes because I forget this crucial piece of information – we are teaching our kids NOT to listen to us.
Yep. Our responses to their non-compliance when we ask them to pack up their toys, put their PJs back in the washing basket, sit down to eat (you get the picture), is what teaches them whether or not to listen to us in the future. If, after we give them an instruction that they don’t follow, we throw our hands up in the air and give up (and do what we were asking them ourselves!), we are teaching our kids that they don’t need to listen to us.
Put visually this is what we call a “compliance routine” in the business (excuse the messiness – we just used this in a session!):
You need to work out effective praise and consequences that are respectful and meaningful to your child (often a paediatric psych is the person who can help you nut this out if you’re struggling) but in a nutshell, the above compliance routine is THE BOMB. Try it and let me know how you go!
Amanda Abel is a paediatric psychologist at the Northern Centre for Child Development, an independent paediatric psychology clinic in Melbourne’s north.