Getting Kids to Listen: 4 Easy Steps
ANSWER: Your dilemma is a common one in this day and age. Our parents' generation was very adult centered. Children were to be seen and not heard. The pendulum has swung, but it need not go overboard. It is possible to empower your children and still retain parental authority.
You have done a good job of listening to your children; Now it is time for them to also listen to you. However, do not mistake establishing your authority to mean you are authoritarian. You have clearly established a democratic atmosphere that has given your children a voice in the family. But your leadership is required. The following guidelines for discipline will help you clarify who is in charge in your family.
It is our job as parents to guide our children. We must be willing to accept anger and other negative feelings when we set appropriate limits. As long as your expectations are reasonable for your child's age, you may successfully adopt the role of benevolent dictator when necessary.
As parents you have your children's best interests at heart. You have raised them to give you their input. Pat yourself on the back. They will feel empowered to express themselves and be able to influence the direction of their destiny in their adult lives.
But do not stop short of taking charge. Your calm leadership is necessary to create a stable environment. Children and parents flourish in an atmosphere that promotes order over chaos.
Gayle Peterson, MSSW, LCSW, PhD is a family therapist specializing in prenatal and family development. She trains professionals in her prenatal counseling model and is the author of An Easier Childbirth, Birthing Normally and her latest book, Making Healthy Families. Her articles on family relationships appear in professional journals and she is an oft-quoted expert in popular magazines such as Woman's Day, Mothering and Parenting. . She also serves on the advisory board for Fit Pregnancy Magazine.
Dr. Gayle Peterson has written family columns for ParentsPlace.com, igrandparents.com, the Bay Area's Parents Press newspaper and the Sierra Foothill's Family Post. She has also hosted a live radio show, "Ask Dr. Gayle" on www.ivillage.com, answering questions on family relationships and parenting. Dr. Peterson has appeared on numerous radio and television interviews including Canadian broadcast as a family and communications expert in the twelve part documentary "Baby's Best Chance". She is former clinical director of the Holistic Health Program at John F. Kennedy University in Northern California and adjunct faculty at the California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco. A national public speaker on women's issues and family development, Gayle Peterson practices psychotherapy in Oakland, California and Nevada City, California. She also offers an online certification training program in Prenatal Counseling and Birth Hypnosis. Gayle and is a wife, mother of two adult children and a proud grandmother of three lively boys and one sparkling granddaughter.
Copyright 1996-2003. Gayle Peterson All rights reserved.