How to talk so kids will listen

Why won't she listen?  Why is he so reactive and resistant? 

Genevieve explains many ways that we can open the lines of communication with our child to avoid them becoming resistant and reactive.  She also talks about some of the common ways of communicating that tend to shut the child down and decrease their motivation to contribute to the team spirit, to work with us, or open up to us.  The open lines of communication become particularly important as children get older and move into adolescence, but the foundation for that emotional safety and trust is best established in the younger years.

If some of that trust has been lost, following this advice and drawing on the wisdom in the eCourses and other membership resources will inch by inch reduce your child's stress, resistance and reactivity and rebuild the beautiful warm connections that you will both crave.

How to talk so kids will listen - Part I

Download Audio verion of Part I

Second half of the talk


Our children can tell when our empathy is authentic


Factor in time for the transition / protest at the end of quality time together

Listen to the audio of the whole talk

How to talk so kids will listen - jump to the part you most want to hear ...

First few minutes:  Genevieve talks about the importance of tuning in to the underlying feelings and needs that are driving behaviour. Child's feelings and needs chart: Three categories of behaviour from settled, secure and cooperative. What is the child feeling? What do they need to maintain their settled secure state? Middle category; child is clingy, frazzled, unsettled, easily upset, big reactions,

7 mins     The power of empathy. Humans need a huge amount of empathy. The difference between speaking words of empathy while stressed and actually expressing heartfelt empathy that our child experiences of soothing.

9 mins.      Kids need to see our smiles, our humour, need to know we care, we like them, we trust them, understand them, get their feelings and needs, have patience for them, believe in them, hold them in a good light.

10      How to best support our child's development of their emotional and social skills. Secure attachment is at the core of the child's emotional development.

13      When our child feels insecure in their relationship with their parent, limits and guidance are experienced as criticism and unwanted control.  When our child feels secure in their relationship with their parent, guidance and limits are overall received as loving support. The parent's influence especially wears thin with teenagers if a parent is authoritarian.  without the connection, parents don't have the influence on their child that they need to have.

16      Differences between peaceful parenting and permissive parenting.

18      The Centre, Connect, Communicate model. Genevieve explains what's important at each stage; centring, connecting and communicating.

19      Parents can become very burnt out, the self care is essential for parents.  Parents need spaces where they can cry and vent. The value of venting! Parents need to release stress through their tears.

20      To yell less, parents need to cry more.

21      Stress hormones release through tears. The difference between a cry that's therapeutic or not.

22      Aletha Solter's 3 important factors for resolving stress and trauma.

23      Children and adults need to come back to balance through cries and laughter. Empathy and validation gives a person permission to be more at peace in expressing their feelings, hence gaining relief.

24      Why don't kids like to hear "you're angry"?  The empathic words they DO like to hear.

25      Quality time where parent gives child their full attention is very important. But what about when kids get upset when we end playing with them?

26       We don't want our children to lose their natural ability to cry.  Resilience:  Healthy outlets reduce the child's likelihood to choose unhealthy releases like aggression or later alcohol and drugs and risky behaviour.

28      Why are family meetings important?  (To access this link, you may need to enroll in the PP Step by Step eCourse, just takes one click to enroll, then you can access all the units and videos).  Times to hear each person's feelings and needs and aim to create a plan that meets as many needs as possible.

30      If it seems like your child only cares about their OWN agenda ...  The more our child sees that we care about their agenda, the more open they are to hearing our agenda and working together to agree on a plan.  Keep meetings, check ins and heart to heart chats positive to avoid them developing negative associations with family meetings.

31      Requests versus demands. What's the difference?  Requests are engaging and create space for a child to say "no".  Parents need to accept more no's if they're to get more willing yes responses.  When children lose their sense of autonomy, they rebel.

33      Difference between requests and limits.  In the resource library, read the scripts; When to hold limits.

34       Parents who help their child tune in to, reflect on, identify and name their feeling states, are providing them with the vocabulary and the understanding to better handle their own and other people's emotions and behaviours. The importance of our children naming "I'm stressed, I'm angry, I don't like how you're talking to me". The importance of making it safe for our child to give us feedback. If they can give their parent clear feedback and put up boundaries to treatment that feels unfair, they'll be much more empowered to have a strong voice in other relationships.

36      The importance of talking about emotions in the family and giving words to feelings. Reference article "children need reassurance when their parent is grumpy". Children need parents to be honest about being very stressed and give them a simple explanation that reassures them that they're not going to get the brunt of that stress.

37      The importance of avoiding labelling children. "You got a good result in your test, are you pleased with that?" As opposed to "you're so smart" which puts them under pressure to continue to live up to the reputation of being "clever".  Avoiding black and white language; "you never ... ", "you always .. ". Reference Robin Grille's article "The poisoned carrot" (google it) on the pitfalls of praise and rewards and what to do instead.  (Note, this is one of the subjects that Robin and I talked quite a bit about when I interviewed him in Sydney in August, do prompt us if you're keen to see those videos and we can upload them in the village membership).

40      How we talk to our kids becomes their inner voice.  This IS good news because you're giving your child lots of positive messages. It's important to acknowledge yourself for the positive loving care you give your child.

41      Help your child develop a positive self-image of themselves as someone who is cooperative, caring, considerate etc. Recognising the will power and restrain that our child uses. Being specific in our feedback of our child to help them recognise their strengths.

42      Important that our child receives the message that they're still loved and still cared for even when they're not being cooperative, kind or caring. "Kids I can see that was really stressful for you both" it reassures them that we're still caring about them even though their action was hurtful.

43      "I" statements are about owning our feelings and teaching children to own and name their feelings instead of blaming others; "when you said that, I felt really sad". Referencing Genevieve's articles on "I" statements.

44      Problem solving; let's work out what's going to work better. Lots of problem solving scripts of suggested parent child dialogues to typical tricky challenges in the village membership resource library.

49      Children WILL be more cooperative, more responsive, will listen better when you use these communication approaches.

50      Food and mood. When the child's blood sugar levels are more level and balanced, this helps them to feel more balanced and level. Becoming aware of the glucose content/ index of foods and balancing glucose, protein, fiber and healthy fats makes a big difference for most children. Reduce sugar and simple carbohydrates and processed foods and avoid the chemicals in food that can disrupt a child's emotional balance.

51      Avoid giving children messages that invalidate their thoughts and feelings and shut them down emotionally. For children to maintain open honest lines of communication and disclosure with their parent, a parent needs to make sure their child feels emotionally safe to be very honest. Genevieve gives the example of having judgments of their children when they argued, but in listening and validating and reflecting each of their perspectives, it would always become clear that the story was more complex than first percieved.

55      Repairing the connection after conflicts. Avoiding "I'm sorry BUT .... " The "but" negates everything that was said before it because the parent has gone back into lecturing or being defensive and the emotional safety that the apology started to create has now been compromised.


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