Kids really respond to positive parenting solutions for bad behavior, even when they won’t listen.
When we are being positive with our kids they are gaining an example of how to handle bad situations in a positive way without violence, anger, and resentment.
Recent research suggests that spanking your kids as a form of discipline can do more harm than good in the long term.
The Pediatricians Group is now recommending that parents find positive parenting strategies to replace harsh punishment.
What does positive parenting mean?
Positive parenting involves using strategies or finding ways to discipline your child without harsh punishment.
Rather, by building trust and respect with your children through communication. While teaching them through positive reinforcement and developing consequences that don’t involve spanking, harsh words, or yelling.
What are positive parenting techniques for a child who won’t listen?
There are many things to consider when you have a child who won’t listen. Different families have different situations and different kids, so what works for one family might not work for another.
When you have a child who won’t listen consider the following:
Why won’t my child listen to me?
First, it’s important to stop and think about why your child won’t listen to you.
- How old is your child? Sometimes children under 2 years old are incapable of understanding what you want them to do. Make sure the request you are making is age appropriate. They may be having a normal toddler temper tantrum, which can be triggered by a million different things.
- Are your child’s basic needs being met? As a parent of course we strive to make sure our kids needs are being met. But, in the hustle and bustle of a busy day we can forget our kids are tired from school, soccer practice, etc. We can forget that it’s time for bed, a diaper needs to be changed, or that our kids didn’t get breakfast even though we told them to.Sometimes the reason our kids don’t listen is because they are tired, stressed, or hungry. It’s easy as a busy mom to forget to take that into consideration.
- Is there something else going on? Do you have a child who normally listens and now won’t?If they are a baby/toddler are they teething or do they have a rash? Sometimes our little babes can’t tell us what’s wrong.For older kids- Is there a bully at school? Is there a rift in the family that is causing undo stress? Most of the time there is a reason our kids are acting out.
- Is this a stage? Toddlers and tweens go through stages where they like to test there boundaries with mom and dad. It’s fun for them to see what they can get away with. But, for kids most of the time these are stages that pass. Be consistent and realize it’s all part of growing up.
- Are you being reasonable as a parent? Sometimes as parents we need to take a look in the mirror?I will be the first person to admit that in my years of parenting 3 kids there have been times I’ve been in the wrong. I’ve asked my kids to share things they shouldn’t have had to share or do hard chores that were unfair to ask them to do. So, ask yourself- Am I asking too much of my child? Is this why they won’t listen?
It’s okay to admit your wrong and even admit to your child you are wrong. They will benefit from this example that we all make mistakes and it’s best to own up to them.
How can I help my child listen in a positive way?
- Don’t lose your temper– It can be easy to get frustrated in this situation and lose your temper. But, that’s the last thing that will help you and your child get through this stage. Stay cool and calm. Step away from the situation for a moment if you feel like you will lose your temper.
- Communicate– Try to communicate with your child calmly in an age appropriate way.
- Get down on your child’s level.
- Be open and understanding with your child. The more calm and positive you are the more willing they will be to talk with you.
- Avoid Triggers– Learn what triggers your child and try to avoid it if you can. There is no need to put your child in unnecessary situations where you know they won’t listen. For example, if your son breaks down at the thought of loading the laundry every time, then give him another chore to do.
Have him tag along next time to learn how to do the laundry once a week and then through this positive experience he might be more inclined to try again in the future.
- Use positive reinforcement– Praise your kids for listening. Make sticker charts for the little ones and give incentives for completing tasks they normally refuse to do it.Whenever my kids ask for something extra, I tell them they need to start doing something they normally won’t do to earn it.
For example, my 3 year old will not sleep in her bed. So, when she wants something we use that as an opportunity to fill up a sticker chart for nights slept in her bed. Then she can have her prize!
- Rules– Let your kids know what is expected of them, but keep expectations realistic. Meaning, they should be age appropriate and your child should be able to easily follow these rules.Communicate with your child about their rules and expectations often. Make sure they understand what the consequences will be for not following the rules.
- Team Work– Parenting is a team effort. Make sure you and your spouse are on the same page about your parenting approach. Let them know what positive parenting strategies you plan to use and stick together with positive reinforcement, communication, and consequences. Make trying some different positive parenting strategies a family goal with your spouse.
- Consistency– Get into a routine with your positive parenting strategy.
- Stick with your positive reinforcement. Praise your kids daily and if you plan on using a sticker chart, stick with it and make the end reward easy to achieve.
- Keep your consequences consistent. Don’t change your consequences out of frustration. Make the consequence the same for each incident.
- Consequences– Make sure consequences are age appropriate and aren’t too harsh. A short timeout or taking away a privilege work well. Consequences should be immediate and you should make sure your child understands why they are getting a punishment. Get down to their level and calmly, but firmly let them know why they are getting a consequence. It’s important that your child feels safe and secure through this process and that afterward you show them an increase of love.
Let them know that you love them and offer them forgiveness for not listening. Then, take the opportunity to communicate briefly about how they can listen better next time.
- Meditation– Teach your kids to meditate by sitting quietly, listening to soft music, or doing some easy yoga poses when they feel stressed. Sometimes when you’re kids aren’t listening they need some quiet time to think things over. This is such a positive way to teach our kids to be mindful of their feelings and to deal with their stress rather than acting out.
- Reading– Here are some great resources to learn even more positive parenting strategies for your kids!
Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide (The Positive Parent Series)How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will TalkPower of Positive Parenting: A Wonderful Way to Raise ChildrenThe Positive Parenting Workbook: An Interactive Guide for Strengthening Emotional Connection (The Positive Parent Series)Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting (The Peaceful Parent Series)Positive Discipline: The Classic Guide to Helping Children Develop Self-Discipline, Responsibility, Cooperation, and Problem-Solving SkillsThe 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively
Positive parenting strategies are easy to learn and enforce in the home.
Using positive parenting techniques you will notice your children growing up with a positive attitude towards others and the ability to tackle any problem with positivity and light.
What’s your favorite positive parenting strategy? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!
How to do this with a toddler whom is hitting and kicking ?
Hi Justina, Apologies for the delayed response. I feel like all my kids have gone through a hitting, kicking, biting phase during toddlerhood. The key here is patience and consistency.
First, try and see what the reasons are behind the behavior and prevent or minimize them. It’s very likely your toddler is just frustrated about something and that’s how they know to communicate it with you.
We like to use positive reinforcement when we see them doing good things or reacting appropriately. Short time outs, 1 minute per age. (Tell them clearly and firmly why they are on time out. Have a short talk about it after and show an increase in love.) Taking away objects that are causing contention. (A toy that the kids are fighting over).
Also, make sure they know what you are doing hurts you. “That really hurt mommy!”
These are just a few ideas.
If you feel it’s excessive you may want to consult your doctor or psychologist to make sure there aren’t any mental health concerns.
Best of luck!
This is a great read! More parents need to read and practice positive parenting!
One thing I would add is, parents need to be patient in seeing a change in the children’s response to a change in parenting skills.
Is there a way to print this article?
Hi Carol! So happy it helped. You can feel free to print any of my posts through your internet browser.