The parenting issue: "My son (6) doesn't listen until I threaten"
24 Oct 2021Updated: 4 hours ago | people are reading
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Melanie gets tired of always threatening sanctions before her six year old son listens to her. How does she change this?
Whether it's jumping on the couch, arguing with his sister or talking through everything, Melanie only gets to her son Finn when she throws in something extra: " The bottom line is that he only listens when I threaten with punishment or sanctions, so when I say, "Otherwise you will no longer be allowed to play outside, no dessert or no more on the iPad." I find it very annoying to have to keep repeat and eventually have to threaten. How can we change this? "
This is mainly about setting boundaries and being consistent, says Dave Niks of De Familiepsycholoog. That children do not listen immediately is, he says, logical behavior: "Children are always looking for boundaries and want to stretch them in order to enlarge their world."
" This is a natural learning process in which they discover what is and is not allowed. As a parent it is important to be consistent in this. If something is not possible one time and it is possible the other time, it is very unclear for a child and he will try anyway get his way. "
Besides being consistent, the psychologist has another tip: not just say what you don't want, but what you do want. "Saying that something is not allowed immediately determines the dynamics of the conversation."
"A child does not withhold denial, which should not linger. And so your child keeps jumping on the bench, so say what is allowed more often and then offer an alternative: jumping on the bench is not allowed, but outside on the trampoline. "
It is striking that Melanie's son is just listening when there is a threat of punishment, Niks says: "What makes him listen then? Does he understand why he may or may not do something? To return to the example of jumping on the couch: you can do ten times Tell a child not to jump on the couch, but without explaining, the message won't arrive. "
" We as adults can do something very well think it makes sense, but children see it differently. So state that that bank will break down differently and that a new bank will cost a lot of money. Make it clear to his experience. A child cuts wood, he will also listen better. "