“My Kids Don’t Listen to Me!”


“My Kids Don’t Listen To Me!”

When I speak of my desire to teach parents to teach their young kids to read, even before they enter a classroom, that’s the response that I often hear from parents.

So why would kids respond to their teachers or tutors more readily than they would their moms and dads?

That’s what I wanted to learn.

I began reading all of articles I could find that were related to the topic. When I shared my personal research project with a friend, she recommended that I read The Collapse of Parenting, How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups, by Leonard Sax, MD. PhD. I borrowed her copy from the library, and then I purchased my own. (It’s good.)

Here’s what I’ve been learning:

If your kids don’t listen to you, chances are:

  • You don’t really listen to them with genuine interest.

~  It’s a teacher’s job to listen. That’s what we do. We earnestly strive to know your children.

  • You don’t do what you say you’re going to do.

~  Educators follow through. We cannot use empty threats or we’d lose our credibility and we accomplish little to none of what is expected of us.

  • Most of your interactions are task-oriented.

~  Teachers earnestly strive to strengthen connections with students. We purposefully create opportunities  for friendly interactions where our students are seen and heard.

  • You talk too much.

~  Educators don’t have that kind of time.  To make the most of the time they have, they wait to speak until they have the attention of their students. They give directions one time. They avoid long one-on-one lectures. They speak respectfully.

  • You are not modeling desired behaviors.

~ Teachers know that they must earn credibility. When I talk to my students about editing their writing, I share with them my frustration when my editor returns my work. They know I walk the walk.

  • You’ve forgotten to have fun.

~ Educators have learned to captivate. We sing songs. We swoon and gush when something extraordinary happens. We share heartfelt stories.  We try things even when we know we might fail. (It took four tries, but this fifty-three-year-old teacher can do a handstand against the school building!)

Here’s the thing: Many educators are parents, too. And sometimes we absolutely forget to do these things with our own children. Parents have so many demands upon them. We get into “go mode” and we forget to do our most important job . . . like it’s our job.

This summer, let’s listen, follow through, connect, speak only as much as necessary, be good examples, and HAVE FUN!

Dr. Christy