Kids Don't Listen Like They Used To -- And I'm Glad They Don't!

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I have an 8-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son, and I often miss the days when they were babies. They adored me then, and they would listen to everything I said. Nowadays, I get the emphatic, "No, I don't have to listen to you," every time I ask them to do something. My husband and I are constantly arguing over which approach is best to handle these rude kids.

When we were kids, we never talked back to our parents.  If we did, we got the belt.

Bert and Ernie: Let me tell you a secret / 20090917.10D.53994.P1 / SML

We've entered into a calm period right now in my household. The defiance has stopped, and the "No ..." has turned into, "I don't want to do that right now, can I do it later?" As this is happening, I've realized it's a healthier way to raise children. I prefer to have my children disagree with me or even disobey me if they feel strongly about something. Of course, I'm teaching them you can't just disagree to disagree, you have to tell me why and come up with another solution. The best advice on this approach comes from author Ross W. Greene in his book The Explosive Child.

The response, "Because I'm your mom and I say so," isn't working anymore -- and that's a good thing. Power isn't about being in charge -- it's about listening and making decisions based on mutual goals. If the "big kids" could resolve their disagreements in this manner, we'd probably have a much lower divorce rate.

I can't wait to see our kids grow up in a world where using their voice is encouraged in the home and in business -- no matter who's in charge.


Barbara Ponce

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Photo Credit: seeminglee.


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