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What to Do When Your Child or Teen Won't Listen

Are you ready for a quick tip for a quick win with your parenting?


When you start with the understanding that behavior is communication, then when your child or teen won't listen, there are often 3 top reasons.


1. You don't have their attention!


How often do we call to them from another room or up or down a flight of stairs? They may "yes" you, but that doesn't mean they're really listening. They're involved in what they're doing.


It may seem more labor intensive to go to them and make a bit of eye contact before you say "the thing" to them, but it may just save you repeating yourself 10 times!


2. They are facing a transition


Transitions are stressful - even the daily ones. They involve stopping one activity and moving toward another. It takes time and regulation to be able to change gears. Think in terms of assisting your child or teen with a transition rather than announcing it.

3. Emotional age rules over reason Since transitions are stressful and when we stress, we regress, there's a good chance your stress-sensitive child may act younger emotionally during specific transitions. If you notice they're not acting their age, stop trying to reason with them and look for a connection point with their emotional age. It may feel counter-intuitive, but it works to bring the needed regulation for reason to return. Use the image below to imagine what your child or teen might be feeling below the surface of their defiant, oppositional or disrespectful behavior.

(To practice responding rather than reacting when your child won't listen, check out my 4 minute video, "What To Do When They Won't Listen," by clicking the image above.)

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