How Can I Get my Kids to Listen to Me?
Check their ears!
Sometimes hearing and listening can be confused. Check the ears of the little buggers. See if there is some corn, peas, or play dough stuck in there. Just look now. If you see anything unusual in there, take the little tyke to the doctor. They specialize in removing foreign objects. Once you have determined that there is nothing blocking their ears, it is time to check their hearing.
Sneak up behind the kid and say in a whisper, "Boo!" If there is no reaction, take the earbuds out of his ears and repeat the experiment. If he can hear you say boo in a whisper, then you know he can hear at least that much. In a normal voice ask if he can hear you turning the ipod off. If he can hear that, then there is a chance that he has excellent hearing abilities.
To test further, ask him to listen as you turn his phone off. If he hears that, this is a very good sign. Next test his hearing on the computer, game boy, xBox 360, netbook, and guitar hero. If he can hear all of these going off, this is a very good sign indeed.
If he protests, tell him that this is a very important scientific investigation to determine his hearing ability which has come into question lately since there has been no response to various recent requests and inquiries.
If any of these tests fail, you should consider seeing that doctor again.
Check for a Pulse
If your son has been sitting in the same position for more that 6 hours, hold a mirror up to his mouth and nose, if a fog is formed, then there is breathing. Breathing is very important since if the breathing stops, there is rarely any listening going on. Once you have determined that there is adequate breathing, then you must check for a pulse. The best place to check for a pulse is on the index finger of his red blue green yellow button hand. If he protests tell him (and this is important to get it right) the following:
"This testing is CERTIFIED! and it is the hacker's best thing to prevent the 'Red Ring of Death' from occurring during long play times."
You will know immediately if he hears this. It is secret code and known to all xBox360 owners. Any player with a pulse will do anything they can to avoid the red ring.
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He's alive and he can hear you, but can he Listen?
Now that you have determined that he is alive and that he can hear your, it is time to work on the concept of listening. While you are at it, turn the xBox 360 off.
To teach a concept, you must clearly define it, model it, demonstrate it and finally practice it. Tell him that there is more to the testing, and now it is time to continue the test.
Ask him, "Would you rather have one dollar or one hundred dollars?"
When he answers one hundred dollars, give him one dollar. Then explain that this is selective listening. When you hear what you want to hear instead of hearing what was said.
When he protests, take the dollar and put it back in your wallet. This is an example of hearing for content. It is clear that he does not want a dollar.
Now that you have his attention, this has become a teaching moment.
Explain that in order to turn on his xBox, ipod, computer, etc., he will have to communicate, so that you will know what he wants.
Ask him to tell you what he wants. No matter what he says, simply repeat what he has said. He says, "I just want to play my game."
You say, "So you want to play your game." This is modeling. You are doing good so far. Now it is his turn. Tell him that you will tell him something and you want him to repeat it. Then tell him this, "I want you to empty the trash."
His response has to be something like, "So you want me to empty the trash." This reflective listening. You immediately say, "Yes, that is right. I want you to empty the trash." If it is necessary, lead him to the trash can and open the door.
As he carries the trash out the door, carefully avoid the urge to close the door and lock him out. This will not contribute to the lesson. However, it could be fun
He hears and listens.
Since you have established his hearing and listening skills, it is now time to see if he can follow complex messages.
Tell him this, "I would like to have you hear some good stuff. Like turning on your phone, Gameboy, computer, etc. As long as these things do not interfere with your ability to hear and listen, you may have them on. If you demonstrate a need, we will go through these lessons again."
This will provide on-going practice.
Actual results may vary, but aside from the tongue in cheek approach i have, there are basic things that we all want:
- To be listened to
- To be loved and accepted
- To be successful and productive
- To be empowered to make a contribution
It does not take an expert to point out these basics, but it does take practice. Give it a try, you won't regret it. Effective parenting is a collection of best practices you have developed through education, trial, and practice.