Help! My Kids Don’t Listen to Me!
5 keys to create better listening in your home.
Do you feel like you’re talking to the wall
when you speak to your kids? How many times
do you have to tell your kids something
before you get them to listen to you?
parents repeat the same thing over and over
each day – “pick up your laundry,” “don’t
leave your shoes in middle of the hallway,”
“do your homework!” “stop bothering your
sister” or “get into bed now!” – it’s no
wonder you experience a sense of defeat.
Children tune us out. Teens and pre-teens
test limits. And parents don’t like dealing
with the consequences, the discipline, and
the negative emotions. We’re stressed and
tired, and think it’s simpler to just let
things slide, forgetting that these issues
will only grow larger.
How can we be more effective in our
Here are 5 keys to create better
listening in your home:
1. Don’t be
afraid that your kids won’t like you.
When we fear our children’s anger and
tantrums we hold back on discipline. The
result is that our words are not taken
seriously. Seeing unhappy kids can make us
feel unsuccessful as parents. We give in
because we are afraid that our children
won’t like us or that they will voice
opinions about us that are too painful to
hear. Wanting happy homes and happy kids, we
surrender. Instead of showing firmness,
parents grow soft and respond to a child
with “Okay, five more minutes, one more
cookie…” Our children have learned that with
the right tone, tantrum, or pleading they
win. Their silent treatment, tears and
whining break our resolve. Of course they
won’t listen. Why should they? We have
failed to communicate respect for our words.
Toughen up. Stop being afraid that your kids
won’t like you. They’ll come to respect you.
2. Act. Don’t
How often do problems occur because we
were not specific with our kids or ignored a
situation that got out of hand? When
children understand what is expected from
them we avoid confrontations and feeling as
if we are not being listened to. For
example: a grandmother I know told me that
she was worried sick waiting up for her
teenaged grandson who was staying with her
on vacation in Florida. The moment he came
home at 1 a.m. she screamed at him, called
his parents and gave him a stiff punishment.
When questioned, the grandmother informed me
that all she had said to her grandson before
he left was, “Don’t come home too late.” To
this teen, no rules were broken; 1 a.m. is a
normal time to return.
How much pain would have been avoided if
the adults in this family would haveactedby
setting clear limits and times instead ofreactingto
this boy’s late return? If only the rules
would have been clearly explained
beforehand, confrontation and feelings of
being ignored would never have occurred.
Allowing a child to perceive that it is
him plus one parent against another parent
is called ‘pyramid parenting’. One parent
should never be thought of as the opposing
figure. When mother and father are not on
the same side and one becomes allied with
the child, both parents lose. The child
observes division. He translates this as
weakness. Respect and honor for parents
become diminished as the child plays one
parent against the other. Neither parent
will be effective because the child knows
that there will be discussions and even
arguments when discipline comes into the
picture. Parents who do not display a united
front teach children that it is possible to
divide and conquer. Children who recognize
that their parents make decisions in harmony
will realize that it is unthinkable to go
against one parent’s wishes or words and
find support from an opposing parent.
4. Say What
You Mean and Mean What You Say
Some parents spend half their life
saying: “If you push your brother one more
time…”’ “If you talk like that to me again…”
but nothing changes. The child just does the
same action again because he knows that we
simply give empty threats. True, some
parents blow up, scream, yell, and get
enraged. So what? Losing it does not mean
that we are being effective. After a while,
parents get tuned out. If you keep dealing
with the same issue over and over again it
is time to address it. Not by losing
control. We cannot parent out of rage.
Rather, we must think about effective
discipline and follow through on our words.
Mothers and fathers who lack consistency are
perceived as weak.
5. Get Rid of
If we are speaking to our children while
having one eye on the screen in front of us,
we fail to convey that we are serious about
our relationship with them. I was recently
asked: if you had one piece of parenting
advice to give, what would it be? I replied,
“Get off your phone.” Look around. What do
you see? I watch as families believe that
they are spending quality time together but
in reality everyone is either texting or
checking Instagram. We have lost a vital
connection with our loved ones, especially
After watching us speak to them with half
an ear and half an eye they have come to
realize that we are distracted parents. Our
bodies may be present but our minds are
absent. We are missing out and there is no
way to make up for all the time and
opportunity that have passed us by. When our
sons and daughters see that they are indeed
being looked at and heard, our relationship
with them will reach a whole new level. For
our words to be listened to, we must try to
build a connection. Until we do, fathers,
mothers, sons, and daughters, will be
sitting next to one another but living
We have the ability to raise children who
listen to our words. Parents who display a
united front, are clear and consistent, and
show children that they are a priority will
forge a relationship based on respect and
deep love. The time to start is now.
Rivki D. Rosenwald Esq., CLC, SDS
Are you a list person? I
can't imagine that anyone isn't -after all how
do they get anything done ? What in the world
do they depend on as a reminder? Their
I have always opted for
recording it somewhere? Ahh the sweet security
of getting it on to my list. It's as good as
done. Which of course is also the problem?
Because once you've got it committed to the
list, you are tempted to go ahead and do
The other day I was
walking down the street and noticed a piece of
paper on the sidewalk. Though laden with
packages, I'd imagined it was some interesting
love note and couldn't resist picking it up.
Then I realized it was even more important. It
was someone's "grocery list". No one would
abandon that! It was too clean to have been
discarded. Now that poor person would be
mentally tortured trying to envision, every
space in their pantry, shelf in their fridge,
and request made by each family member, along
with the new recipes they were trying out, to
even begin to touch on what they needed in the
And if it was someone's
husband, who was assigned to pick up the
groceries, he'd probably be somewhere dripping
with perspiration or trepidation trying to
figure out how to proceed now -call or improvise
and hope for the best!
I decided to be a hero-I
was going to the supermarket anyway, so I bought
everything on the paper and returned it to the
spot where I found the list. I figured good
chance they'd return to find their paper and
would be euphoric about the turn of events; and
if not, some other lucky passerby would benefit.
Either way I was feeling really really
good----that is -until I noticed I had spent all
the extra cash I had on me, on it. It was not
necessarily the most money in the world, however
I realized now I was in big trouble - because
going to the -Bank-was Not On My-List - for that
I have lists everywhere.
On papers, in notebooks, on my iPad. I need a
list just to keep track of where I have lists.
And of course I have one ready to go on my night
stand. After all, how else could one get
through the night?
My Mom wrote a book
entitled “Live, Love, Laugh, and other things I
Do Before Breakfast" she thinks of it as a
Title. I think of it as her early morning
Sometimes in the middle
of the night, I think of things I need to do. I
feel I can't go back to sleep until I make a
note of it. Then I come up with a brilliant
idea, a mnemonic for remembering. Fix the
faucet, Listen to my voice mail, Open an
account, Write an article. "FLOW" = fix, listen,
open, write. I repeat it a few times. Now how
to remember the word flow? Let the ideas "flow"
back into my head. That's good. I can go back
Morning rears its head.
I am psyched. I totally remember the word Flow.
Here we go ...F - F- fix. - Yes, wow I am good!
Fix what? Fixxxx what? What did I remember was
broken. Ok- try L. L- Listen, yup, listen -to my
original instincts. O, O,- Ooh my gosh I should
have written it down on the note pad on the
night stand like I planned in the first place!!!
It's good I never got to
the W in "FLOW". I'd be there forever thinking W
-Wa Wa. I'd never get the word Write from that.
It's more like W for W-hat in the world was I
Lists are the most
important organizing tool we have. Some use
their calendars, others a memo pad, some even
risk recording it to memory, but rarely does one
function without any.
After all, So much of
our sense of achievement derives from making
those little tick offs, check marks, cross outs,
whatever. We are total suckers for it.
In fact in going for my
coaching license I learned the valuable lesson
that one should always make at least one daily
list verses that endless - to do - list. That's
because you'll never feel really accomplished if
you can never get your whole list done! What a
great feeling to cross every single thing out -
at least for the 10 seconds before you feel the
need to start one again!!!
Well, I've got to go
now, sending this in for print is next on my
“Please G-d, let me partner with You
and go beyond my constrictions to a
place of expansiveness. Everything that
happens is part of Your perfect training
& development program for me. Help me
respond in the most noble way- help me
judge favorably, have compassion, let go
of having to be in control and give it
over to You, G-d. Please bless me with
an amazing year of walking with YOU.”
1. G-D, You have an incredible
vision for all of humanity and for me. I
want to fulfill Your vision of greatness
for me more and more. Please show me
what I most need to see gently.
2. I want to recognize the gifts in
my life and see the totality of the life
You gave me, the blessings and the
challenges, as an expression of Your
love. Please fill my heart with
3. I want to transcend my greatest
obstacles to fulfill Your vision for me.
Please help me partner with You and go
from a place of constraints to a place
4. Please bless me with all the
resources I need to fulfill Your vision
for me. (health, clarity,
relationships, a job, place to live
5. I want to make You King by living
myself more according to Your Definition
of reality and Your instructions for
living. Please guide me.
6. I resolve that I want to be
connected to You, G-D, as the source of
my wellbeing in life. And not rely on
ANYTHING or ANYONE else. Please help me
remember that no one else has power.
7. I resolve that this moment is the
dawn of a new era in my life.
I stand before You, the Creator of
the Universe, my loving Father, I look
at the Rosh Hashanah prayer and of
course I want to be connected to You as
the source of all life, and be the
beautiful person You created me to be; I
definitely don’t want any of the
mistaken choices of the past to stand in
the way. Please help me repair whatever
needs fixing. I want this year to be
greater than any year I’ve ever had and
I want to be a bigger person than I’ve
ever been. Not just for my own sake but
for the Jewish people and humanity.
Please help me ask for the right things
and help me understand Your loving
I want today to be the dawn of a new
era in my life.
G-d, You know what I’m facing inside and
outside, please help me. “
Sundays only at 8:15am at 386 Felter Avenue,
Women gather to recite and hear at least 100
morning blessings so as to fulfill the mitzvah
of doing so. If you know of someone who is ill,
please feel free to call and provide the group
with the Hebrew name, so that those who are
present may pray for him or her. Haidee
Mondays at 4:15
pm (3-5 Year Olds) - a half hour
program of stories and a short
Tuesdays at 6:30 pm (Grades 4
- 7) Registration
- January 12 Program:
February 10 The
Theif Lord By: Cornelia
- February 9 Program:
To Be Announced
Time: Thursdays at 10:30am
(24 - 35 months) - A lively half-hour
of songs, stories, fingerplays,
movement and a short film for
a child accompanied by an adult.
Fridays at 10:00
am (12-23 months) - Programs of
songs, finger plays, nursery rhymes
and board books for very young
readers accompanied by a parent
Workshop: Thursdays at
10:00-11:15 (12-35 months)
A special program that encourages
parents to play, sing and do finger
plays with their children. Specialists
in the fields of Speech and Hearing,
Behavior and Development, Nutrition,
and Dance/Movement are available
at various sessions. Registration
is required and is being accepted
in the children's room.
with Arnold Rosenbaum:
Wednesdays at 1:00pm
The Defining Moment - FDR's First
Hundred Days and the Triumph of
Hope by Jonathan Alter. January
Economic Problems Facing the Middle
Class .Mr. Rosenbaum will present
his thoughts on the socioeconomic
problems facing the American middle
class. March 14
Be The Food of Love...Shakespeare
In Love: Sunday, January
7 at 2:30pm. New York jazz vocalist
Christiana Drapkin celebrates
the beauty and power of William
Shakespeare's poetry and presents
it in lively, sometimes haunting,
jazz arrangements. The songs are
direct quotations from Shakespeare's
plays. Tickets required.
and American Art:
January 8 at 1:00 pm. Picasso
is acknowledged by many as the
central figure of the modern movement.
Art historian Mary Vahey will
examine the sometimes worshipful,
sometimes testy relationship between
American artists and the Picasso,
the immensely inventive Spaniard.
January 17 at 1:00pm. Corliss
Whitney, the honorary historian
of the Rockette Alumnae, shares
poignant stories about her years
as a Rockette during the 40's
Way to Health - Humor
Therapy: Wednesday, January 24
at 1:00pm. A presentation that
will focus on the latest studies
that scientifically prove and
explain how and why laughter IS
the best medicine.
Does Merman: Sunday February
4 at 2:30pm. Songs and stories
celebrating Ethel Mermans brilliant
career will be brought to PPL
by vocalist Lisa Berman. Tickets
and Ancient Land of Contrasts:
Thursday, February 8 at 1:00pm.
Through lecture and slides, Sally
Wendkos Olds will guide you on
a journey to another world of
exotic beauty and ancient splendor.
and/or Poets: Wednesday,
February 14 at 1:00pm. Arnie Rosenbaum
will share the poetic lyrics of
Ira Gershwin, Alan J. Lerner and
Larry Hart. You decide if the
great lyricists of the 20th century
really were master poets.
Tiffany and Laurelton Hall
An Artists Country Estate: Monday,
March 19 at 1:00pm. Ines Powell,
Metropolitan Museum of Art educator,
will present an illustrated lecture
which will bring together many
of the architectural elements
and design features of Tiffany's
extraordinary country estate in
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