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  • Gail The Parenting Coach

6 Questions to Ask Yourself When Your Child Isn't Following Directions

Updated: Mar 20, 2018

We all know that parenting isn't easy. Do you ever feel frustrated, angry or disappointed when your child doesn’t listen or follow your directions? Take a deep breath! You are not in this alone. Next time you are in a situation when your child isn't listening or following directions try asking yourself these 6 questions to help you reflect on your parenting style.


1. Is a “command,” needed to communicate clearly? If so, then state it clearly and assertively rather than passive-aggressively asking a confusing question.


For Example:

Use the clear statement, “It’s time for bath,” rather than “it’s bath time, okay?” Or “Want to take a bath?”


2. Am I giving too many commands and talking too fast?


Slow down your speech. Before age six, children process information 12 times slower than adults. Give only one or two commands at a time.

3. Am I telling my child what NOT to do rather than what to do?


Young children cannot conjugate the word “don’t.” When we say, “Don’t touch the lamp,” they hear, “Touch the lamp!”


Tell children what you want them to do.


4. Is my tone of voice and body language respectful?


Would I want to listen to me? Take a deep breath, soften face and smile, then give the clear instructions.


5. Am I physically close to my child when I give the command?


When you give an important command such as, “It’s time to clean up the toys,” be in close proximity so your child knows you mean business.


Make sure you always inspect what you expect. Your actions imply you mean what you say and that you can be trusted.

6. Do I listen when my child and others talk to me? Do I give good eye contact?


Model the listening skills you want to see in your child.





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