What This Is Like from a Parent’s Perspective


There are so many reasons that you need your kids to listen to you. 

Often it’s an issue of safety. They can’t just run into the street or touch something they’re not supposed to.

Sometimes it’s just something that has to get done — brushing their teeth, going to bed, doing their homework.

And frankly, you just want your kids to listen to authority figures, since they have to learn to do that for the rest of their lives.

But often they just don’t listen until you nag them, or yell, or threaten to take things away from you!

You feel disrespected, helpless, and beyond frustrated… and you’re not sure what to do differently.

What This Is Like from a Child’s Perspective


Kids are impulsive by nature. And until they’re much older, they’re also very self-centered. The “mature,” parts of their brains are simply not developed yet. 

So they will try to “get away” with anything they can — because they’re NOT little adults. 

They do need consistent boundaries in order to learn that they must listen.

So they do whatever they can to find those “loopholes,”  including waiting until you’ve asked them 5 times to do something before they actually do it.

How It Usually Goes When

A Child Doesn’t Listen

(Because They Don’t Know You Mean What You Say)


Scenario: Mom is in the kitchen. She asks her kids, Jeff and Georgia, to stop playing in the family room so they can come to the dinner table. They don’t respond. 

Mom: Jeff! Georgia! It’s DINNER time! Get in here!

Jeff and Georgia still don’t listen. 

Mom: You guys! PLEASE come IN here!

Jeff and Georgia mutter that they’re coming, but they make no movement to get up. 

Mom: JEFF. AND. GEORGIA. If you don’t get in here right away, you won’t have electronics tomorrow!

Jeff and Georgia start to get up, but they still don’t make a move to come into the kitchen.

Mom (walking into the family room and yelling): Why do I have to ask you 5 times to do something? It’s DINNER TIME, you two, and I’m tired of having to tell you over and over! No electronics for you tomorrow. Now get in the kitchen — now!

Jeff (whining): But Mom…!

Georgia (yelling back): That’s so unfair, Mom! We WERE coming!

Mom, Jeff, and Georgia continue to argue, even through the beginning of the meal.



How to Show Your Children

You Mean What You Say 


Scenario: Mom is in the kitchen. She asks her kids, Jeff and Georgia, to stop playing in the family room so they can come to the dinner table. They don’t respond. 

Mom (thinks to herself): OK, I asked them once to come in. I need to show them that I mean it when I ask them to do something.

​​(She walks into the family room.)

Mom: Hey you two…

Jeff and Georgia don’t look up.

Mom: I see you’re right in the middle of playing that game! What’s happening right now?

Jeff: I just got this guy onto the “home” spot. I only have two guys left to get there.

Georgia: And I only have one guy left!

Mom: Oh man, I’m really sorry but you’re not going to find out who wins right now. It’s time for dinner.

Jeff: But Mom!

Georgia: C’mon, let us FINISH!

Mom: Unfortunately I can’t let you finish. It’s dinner time and the food will get cold.

Jeffrey and Georgia start to complain. Jeffrey starts to pick up the dice to make one more play. Mom puts her hand on top of Jeffrey’s firmly. 

Mom: Sorry, Jeff. I know it’s hard to stop when you’re right in the middle of something.

Jeff makes a frustrated noise. Mom doesn’t respond to him.  

Mom: Well… I’d love to hear more about the game. Did anyone get tagged and have to start from the beginning?

Jeffrey: Oh yeah, you should have seen it…

Mom: Tell me as we walk to the dinner table, Jeff.

Georgia, Jeff, and Mom walk to the table together. 


Though Jeffrey and Georgia’s mom used the Calm, Connect, Correct strategy in the moment, proactive deposits will make all of the difference in how this situation will play out. 

If you want to give your child tools to be successful (so they can stop overreacting at the small things), remember: