Hello, welcome to Tips on Teens where today's question is talking about how do I get my kids to
listen to me the first time? My name is Kent Toussaint, I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist
and I'm the founder and clinical director of Teen Therapy Center in Woodland Hills, California.
I'm also the executive director and chairman of the board of the non -profit organization Child
and Teen Counseling. Both organizations offering therapy to kids, teens, and families. So,
every Wednesday, sorry, itchy nose there, every Wednesday at noon, I answer your parenting
questions that you can email me at tipsonteens at teentherapycenter .com and let's jump into
today's question. Here we go. How do I get my kids to listen to me the first time? I feel like I always
have to repeat myself a million times before they do what they are asked. The other parents at
school don't seem to struggle with getting their kids to listen. I don't know what I'm doing
wrong. All right. I have a secret to tell you.
super secret, don't tell anyone, it's super secret therapist knowledge here. Are you ready?
No one's kids do it the first time, almost ever. There are occasions where you ask your child
to pick up his socks and he does. It will be the exception to the rule. Most of our kids, just like
most of us, did not do it the first time we're asked. It would be easier, absolutely. It would
just be easy if your kids just put their laundry away, or brush their teeth, or do their homework,
or texted you letting you know when they got to their friend's house, when you ask them to do it.
It would make things so much smoother. I acknowledge that, and should they do it? Yes. Are they
gonna do it? No. When you see other parents having a really easy time, I would say you're catching
them on a good day. Because you're not there in their house, you're not seeing them going, Johnny,
put your socks away! It happens. However, there is good news in all this. And the good news is
that we can influence More cooperation
with their kids not perfect cooperation that does not exist but more cooperation There's a
book by Pam Leo called connection parenting. I reference this book a lot. This is a great quote
in this book It's a great book in general But the quote is roughly the level of cooperation That
parents get from their children is generally equal to the level of connection That child feels
with his or her parents. So what does that mean? That does not mean how much you love your child
or how much they love you. The love is there. We're not arguing. We're not talking about that.
But how do we feel connected? You can love someone and not feel connected. So ask yourself, how
much time throughout the day or the week does your child feel enjoyed by you? How much do they
feel like you really enjoy being with them? You're having fun with them. You're showing interest
in their interests. You're sharing laughs. You're connecting like a friend. If you have close
friends, you connect with them. There are things
that you bond on, things that you talk about, things that you share, shared experiences. Now,
it's tough as parents because we get very busy. We have our jobs, we have the house to manage,
we've got to drive our kids from school to soccer practice to piano to, you know, their play dates,
you know, all these things. We are busy, busy people. Parents don't get many breaks and parents
are people too and we need support. And our frustration levels can rise and our tolerance levels
can drop. And so when we ask our kids, hey, just, you know, clear the table, and they run off and
suddenly they're on their phone, like, you didn't, you didn't clear the table. And our frustration
levels are already so low that we blow up and they get upset and it's all this big catastrophe
and everyone's upset. However, if you're spending the time to really connect with your kid,
hanging out with them they'll go to bed, talk about a book they're reading, or their video game,
or talk about yourself. Sometimes people
say, I can't get my kid to talk to me. They say, I don't know, whatever. And it may be that we need
to model for our children or our teenagers how to talk. So, for example, if you had a tough day
at work, not that you want to dump on your kid because your kid's not responsible for solving
your problems because they're not emotionally capable of doing that, but if you're saying,
yeah, I had a tough day at work, I messed this up, my boss got mad at me, kind of frustrated, but
talking to you helps. I really appreciate you listening to me, and just having you listen makes
me feel better. Thanks. Or, you know what? I think I know what I'm gonna do. This is my plan. This
is how I'm gonna handle it. But don't go to your kid and say, please save me, because then they're
not qualified for that. But if you're modeling an appropriate sharing of human emotion, they
may start reciprocating that. And now you're having this shared experience, right? And with
that shared experience, when you say, hey,
Nancy, Lucy, I really need you to clear the table. Fine. And don't get distracted by the rolling
of the eyes or the attitude with the fine. If she's helping you clear the table, give her a sincere
thank you. And that's starting the seed of cooperation, is this connection. You're not going
to be judged. She's trying to unconsciously lure you into the fight. And if she can lure you into
the fight, then she doesn't have to clear the table and she can focus on how mean you are and all
this stuff. So find ways. Now, we get stuck in this managerial role of our kids. We got to get them
here, got to get them here, got to get a toothbrush, all this stuff. And I encourage you to carve
out time in your day to have quality time to spend with your kids to make sure they feel enjoyed
by you. And if you have that, they're more likely to cooperate just like with you and your boss.
If you love your boss and your boss says, hey, I need you to go above and beyond and do X, Y, and Z,
you're likely to do it.
If you don't like your boss, you're not going to do it so well. Or are you gonna be, you know, looking
for another job at a time? So, you know, we're more than a boss to our kids. We are their parents.
And there's love, and there's connection, and bonding, and there's this lifelong connection.
And it needs to be nurtured. We can't take it for granted. It needs to be worked on every day, even
if it's just a little bit at a time. Make sure that your kid feels connected to you unconditionally,
no matter how badly they did the laundry, or how badly they brushed their teeth. Make sure they
have that moment where you are sharing with them unconditional love with no questions asked
and no expectations That will help your child become more cooperative with you Not a hundred
percent because the kids and this is important the kids who are a hundred percent cooperative
and say yes father I'll do that right away. Those are the kids that we as therapists worry about
a lot because those kids cannot tolerate
imperfection and life is all about imperfection and they will constantly stumble and fall
and and judge themselves and think they're horrible for it. So it's important for kids to learn
how to deal with that imperfection, just like it's important for us as parents to learn to tolerate
that imperfection as well. Anyways, excuse me, that is our question for today. Thank you for
your questions. You can email us again at tipsonteens at teentherapycenter .com or direct
message us right here on Facebook. We love your questions. We'll be right back here next Wednesday
at noon. My name is Kent Toussaint. Thanks for joining us on Tips on Teens. Bye bye.
“I don’t want to have to ask again!” You’ve told your kid to do something 3 times already to no avail. You’re frustrated, feeling disrespected, and your patience is wearing thin. If this sounds familiar, you’ll probably relate to this parent’s #TipsOnTeens question:
“How do I get my kids to listen to me the FIRST time? I feel like I always have to repeat myself a million times before they do what they’re asked. The other parents at school don’t seem to struggle with getting their kids to listen—I don’t know what I’m doing wrong!”
Tips On Teens is a vlog that our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint, hosts every Wednesday at 12:00pm on Facebook Live. He will be answering parenting questions submitted to us by you to our email at TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com. Send us any questions you might have about parenting kids and teens and Kent will be answering them every week!
Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE! Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/
If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.