Should kids listen to their parents the first time?
November 13, 2023
In Episode 87, Sara and Kyle, LPCs, discuss whether or not expecting kids to listen to their parents the first time is a healthy expectation. Do parents listen to their kids or their spouses the first time? Is it important for parents to teach their kids to also listen to themselves and not just the adults in their lives?
Episode 87 Transcript:
In today's podcast, we're going to talk about kids listening the first time. Is that healthy to expect? Hello, and welcome to episode 87 of the Art of Raising Humans. I'm Kyle. And I'm Sara. Today, we're going to talk about kids listening to us the first time. Yeah. It's a big one. And the reason why we picked this topic, Sara, is because, man, whenever we've done this social media stuff, and, you know, we also hear from people just in general, this seems to be a big trigger point. So, so I want to dive into it with you about should kids listen the first time? Is this a reasonable expectation?
What are we really saying when we say this, right? I want to delve into that, but I want to guide all of our listeners to take a moment to comment, to, to, to, you know, give us five stars, cause that's awesome.
And then share this with other people. And also put down in the comments, other topics you'd like us to discuss. You know, jump on and join us on TikTok, on Instagram, on Facebook, because all of these things are ways we shape future podcasts. Right? And so, I mean, you could get a whole podcast of 20 minutes of us discussing a problem that you're facing with your child, and we'll just make it more helpful to all of them. Okay. Hello. I wanted to take a moment to tell you about a great deal we have going on during this Black Friday time of the year. So over the next two weeks, we're going to be offering two amazing courses that we've put together to help families.
One is called How to Understand and Communicate with Your Teenager. And the other one is How to Stop Power Struggles and Resolve Conflict.
We are marking them down from $157 to $29. So grab them while they're hot, while they're available at this price, just for two weeks.
Tell friends about it. It's really going to help you have the family that you want to create. This is dropping November 13th, and, you know, coming up soon are the holidays. And we'll, if you haven't heard our other podcasts in the past, though, the past few holidays, we've done some great podcasts on family drama, how to deal with dysfunctional families during the holidays, how to help your kids during the holidays. So I didn't want to do a specific holiday, you know, podcast this time because we've done a lot of that content.
So I've encouraged you to check out the podcast. It's called How to Stop Power Struggles and Resolve Conflict. We've done a lot of that content. So I've encouraged you to go back, check those out. I think those will be helpful to you. Okay. Yeah. Okay. So, um, there's this expectation, sir, that a lot of parents have, they want their kids to listen the first time. Right. Right. And if they don't do this perfectly, the kid doesn't respond. They're justified.
Then lots of times yelling at them or, you know, being really upset at them or something like that. Right. It's very frustrating. Yeah. What is upsetting about this to us? Like, I think a lot of parents who are listening can relate to that. It's annoying. Right. And so, so what is upsetting about this? What does it trigger in us? I would say what I hear a lot or have felt.
Um, among parents is just, it's disrespect. They're not respecting me. And I, I think, so I'd be curious what, you know, in comments or what people would think, but I think it goes back to the disrespect is kind of saying you don't matter. Yeah. So I can ignore you because you don't matter. Whatever I'm doing, thinking, whatever's going on is more important than you. Yeah. Yeah. I agree with you. The way I worded it was, I don't like being ignored. Yeah. Yeah. I feel like as a middle kid, I was ignored a lot.
I don't like being ignored. And I also don't like feeling that my voice doesn't matter. So I think going back to, I'm just wording it a little different way than you said it. But I feel like the parent thinks they don't, the kid doesn't care. The kid doesn't care what you have to say. Yeah. They're prioritizing something else above you and that should not be the case. Yeah. So I think we should take a moment.
As a parent and think, why, why do I care? And don't just say, because they need this.
Don't put it on them. It's not, you know, you can think that, but in this moment is for what do I feel when anybody isn't listening to me? So what is this drawing out in me? Yeah. Because we kind of, we need to turn in to ourselves sometimes and just be aware of what's what, because it could be different for different people and you need to know what's happening in you. Cause that's the first step of it's not true. Yeah. You do matter if that's your thing, whatever it might be, my voice matters or, you know, they do care about me or whatever it might be, you need to first be aware of that so then you can move into the next step. That's good. I think also for me, Sara, the reflection that I do when I'm getting mad, I noticed there's a pattern. There's, there's a pattern that if I, if I am more stressed, if I am more, if I've got my to do list, um, if I've got a lot of my plates, all of a sudden my expectations change, um, you know, for instance, like you and I in our marriage, we don't expect this out of each other, you know, that we give each other grace.
We realize like we're not, and we're not just dogs, you know, like I realized you have things on your mind. And if you don't listen right away, I assume you're thinking about other things and that those are the things I'm busy. It's in like your whole life. Isn't waiting. We're not servants. We're a bell dings and you go, what do you need, sir?
It's like, I know there's a process. There's a dance. Like I want to come get your attention. That matters.
Whatever I'm going through matters. So if I'm not listening to you the first time, maybe because.
You, I, I would be frustrated. It'd be frustrating to me.
If you expect me to jump every time you said something, I would think, um, no, I'm doing something here and I'm almost thinking as they were talking, it's almost disrespectful for me to expect that of you, disrespectful to think that you should always put whatever I have to say first of whatever you're thinking about, right. That as soon as I want your attention, you should give it.
So then the question is, should kids be that way? Well, and that's a great question, especially if we, a lot of people were saying in the comments, when it came to listening, they were talking about how their boss is going to expect this of them. Like, you know, they're going to, they're never going to, you're preparing them. Yeah. Yeah. And I'm thinking, do I want them to have a boss who expects that?
Like, would that be good? Do I want my kids working for a boss that when that boss speaks. He or she always expects our kid to just give them drop everything.
And yeah, yes. The boss thinks whatever they want to say or do always supersedes everything. The kid wants to say, right. There's never a thought of collaboration.
There's never thought of co-creating. There's no thought of cooperating with each other. It's, it's really this kind of dictatorship, authoritarian type approach. Yeah. Yeah. And I'm thinking in a marriage, I don't want any of our kids being married to somebody who expects that of them. Yeah. And, and, and so in our marriage, we have learned we've married now 21 years that it is a listening is important.
Paying attention is important. You know being responsive to someone's request to be listened to is important, but it's also important to know that that other person isn't waiting to just be called to do that, you know? Right. Right. And I think we're kind of leaning on that sort of barking order, so to speak, Hey, go do this and this, you know, but, um, let's even go to, to what if I've, I've kindly gotten your attention or how do I get your attention if I'm wanting you to do something and then at what point, you know, do I think you should be doing the thing we talked about or I asked. Yeah. Good. I love, I love you kind of change in that kind of focus there is, so is our kids listening to us important and start there.
I would say yes. Yes. Cause it's an important skill. I mean, that's kind of our jobs. Yes. Right. So, so have teaching your kids how to listen and to respond when spoken to.
That I believe is healthy. I think it's a awfully important piece to any relationship and it would start with us. Right. We're hoping to build the skill in them where they can listen because they are going to go into the workplace. They are going to go into relationships. And so we do want to set the stage for what does it look like to really listen and to be a great listener and how can I build that skill in my kid? And we want our kids to not always believe that whatever they are doing or whatever they're thinking about is necessarily more important than what the other person is asking them to do or think about. Right. Right. We actually want them to think, we actually want to think I'm kind of in the middle of something, be aware of I'm in the middle of something, what you have can wait a second, or I need to drop everything cause this is really important.
And I love you doing those too, right? Because that's the very thing then we need to model.
That's the skill. If we are wanting our kids to grow up, not believing whatever they are doing or thinking is more important than what everyone else is doing or thinking, right? That there are times for them to push that aside and pay attention to something else. It reminds me of the fire in our backyard. Yes. And the kids were yelling, mom, call 911. There's a fire. Yeah. Yeah. That was the time to drop everything. There was an urgent request and turn my focus. Yeah. Or even there might be times where you need a question answered, you know, and there's some urgency to that question, right?
And so they could just pause what they're doing or, you know, take a moment and answer that question and be done. Right. Right. And you want them to have that ability going into work and going into a marriage or going into friendships. You want them to know, you know, cause this is what's interesting. I think what we were getting from a lot of people on social media about this idea about listening is by demanding that kid listen to you and always listen to you the first time they think you're raising a kid that learns how to listen. I think you're raising a kid who learns how to demand that what they're doing is more important than what everyone else is doing. Well, you, you could get a kid who then grows up being that person who's demanding everybody to, but you can also get the kid then who doesn't listen to themselves and is always like, oh, you're telling me to do this.
Oh, you're telling me to do that. And they just go and they're, they're not in tune with themselves and what they want, what they desire it. And as the parent, we need to also then be, be mindful of this is an urgent request so I can put some urgency on this and, and help my child learn to respond to this one. But if I do that to everything I'm asking them, the kid's naturally going to start to tune that out.
You act like everything is it. Sara, we've all done that in marriage, you know, even there's a lot of comments about marriages and a lot of how their husbands don't listen or their wives don't listen to send it because we learned to tune it out. Yeah. So we also need to just that this is an urgent one.
So I will act that way. This one is not quite so urgent. So I need to act like it isn't quite so urgent. I need to, I need to present it in the appropriate where it is on the scale. And so my child can learn to respond on that scale and take a second to.
Is what I'm doing really important? Hey, mom and dad, can I just wait two minutes? I'm finishing this, you know, or jump and run. I love what you just said there because success is that Sara, we're not saying success isn't our kids ignore us. Success. Isn't that we ignore each other. Success is a kid being able to take a moment to pause and reflect upon what is this moment? You know, is this a moment I need to quickly respond because it looks like mom and dad need a quick response. Is this a moment where what I'm doing, mom and dad have no idea what I'm doing and it's really important right now, but I'm going to articulate that to them. I'm going to say, yeah, communication. Yes. I'm going to communicate.
I would like to finish this. And then could I then talk to you about that? Once again, that is what do we want our kids to bring into the world? That is listening. You know, it's the skill of what's going on in me.
What's going on with you? Let's bring these things together. And we'd hope they have a boss who does that. We hope they respond to a boss in that way, to a spouse, to, you know, all the relationships that they have. I think a part of me thinks, oh, we need to go back and say how to get your kids' attention, how do you place a request on them, you know, because as we're talking about urgent or not urgent or something, I want to do that. I just want to end this kind of part of the podcast of just saying. Lots of the comments were by demanding they listen to you the first time this preparation for the quote unquote real world. Yeah. And I actually don't think the real world is that way. And the parts that are like that, I don't want my kid to be part of this. Right. It's not a healthy part. Yeah. It's not healthy to be in a workplace.
Where a boss wants that with. There are, there are places in the world that are like that. Yeah. You know, I don't think they're great. Yeah. I don't want my kids to be in an environment where their thoughts do not matter or how they see that. Now, I'm not saying I want my kids' thoughts to supersede the boss's thoughts or anybody else's thoughts. The point is that their thoughts do matter. And I want them to know that they are always choosing to either listen and do what that person is asking or not to. Right. It's not about this fear and control and just jumping when someone says to jump.
I don't think that's healthy. Yeah. And I think it hurts them in relationships down the road. Okay. So let me go back to what you said.
How do we then teach this skill? So if we say, okay, the skill is this, because we're big about all behavior is just skills-based. So if my kid is not listening the way I would like them to, if they are ignoring me, if they are blowing me off, right, that's annoying.
Nobody likes that. We don't want that. That's not healthy. I don't want it to continue. It's going to hurt them at school with friends, all that stuff. So how then do we teach them the skill? How do we give them the support and encouragement to become a better listener? Right. So I don't, so again, it doesn't matter if they're two or 16, it's the same skill they're going to be learning. Obviously my two-year-old, I'm going to realize it's going to take a lot longer to learn this thing. And, but if you're 16 year old has some really deep habits that they've been doing a long time.
I also need to realize it's going to take some time. This won't happen overnight. But the first thing I've got to do is get their attention. And I don't mean just yelling their name or something truly have their attention. If they're playing a video game or your two-year-old has got their little blocks and they're in, you know, you, we know what it's like to be really focused in on something and we need to realize our children are in that same space, they are some, their brain is somewhere else, so we have to bring their brain to us and we may be interrupting something important.
Cause even play for children is important. Deep in a story. Yes. So we have to be thoughtful of what's happening there.
Now it's different. If there's a fire in the backyard, you're screaming, you're getting everyone out, but we're talking about just the general do the dishes, pick up your toys, feed the dog. Yeah. I need to make sure I've allowed them time to pull their brain out of where it's at and turn their attention to me. So I need to get eye contact.
I need to touch them. I might need to get close to them. Now it may not be, I might be able to be like, Hey Abby, can you do blah, blah, blah.
And that has worked. But if I'm seeing that's not working, it's on me as the speaker. It's not on the person to always be like, got my big ears open, you know, to be waiting for you to be saying something. That's not how to live life.
How sad would that be? Right. The kid's like, I need to constantly be on edge every time and be listening. Because my parent might yell something at me. They might tell something about, yes, you don't want your kid doing that. Right. So I go to them. Yeah. I'm not, I'm not yelling up to my daughter's room and thinking that's going to be successful. I could try that.
We've done it. We do. And sometimes that's totally fine. Dinner's ready. That's fine. But if it's not working, I don't think what's wrong with her. I think she must be involved in something. I need to move in as the person who's making the request, move in towards her, make eye contact, you know, with little kids or something, you might talk to them.
You might give them a hug or squeeze on the shoulders and like, Hey. Couple more minutes. And we got to put down that game. Cause we need to go.
I think proximity is great. Yes. Typically the closer you are to somebody, the more likely they are to listen to you. Right. And eye contact is a really, really big one. Cause then their brain is like, Oh, I'm looking at you. I were, we're doing this now. Yeah. And I think too, like you're saying, starting at an early age, the kid learns that listening to you is helpful. You know, the kid goes, Oh, mom and dad are there to talk to me, to help me. Rather than if the listening is typically negative and it's like, I'm yelling, I'm getting the kid, just like in marriage, you hear this all the time where the husband or wife learns that I'm just going to ignore that because I hope they'll just forget because every time they talk to me, they're always asking me to do things or tell me how I'm doing things wrong or, you know, so your brain is not going to be in the right spot, you know, that, that front of where everyone's calm, creative problem solving, that's the part of the brain you want to be in.
And so you got to help your kids stay there. If you attack them with a yell or a, whatever it might be, if they feel threatened by some, something, then they're not in the part of their brain that's going to respond best.
You're just not going to be as successful. So why go there? I know lots of you are thinking, I don't have the time for this. We got to like, my life is so busy. We've got all these events. And I want to say, I don't think you have time not to, I mean, most of that stuff I've noticed when we've gotten sloppy on it, Sara, it takes so much more time because then they don't do it. I know.
And then, then you. ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ And then you get into that and then you got to, oh wait, we got to change that dance because we've been getting into the habit of it's two, three, four, we got to go back to where here's the expectation.
When I say your name, I would like you to look towards me and respond, right? Or like I know for Brennan for a long time, it was, I didn't think he was listening. I thought, but really it was like, he was just lost in thought and he was turning towards me, acting like he was listening, but he really wasn't. So then I would, I took it as him ignoring me or him not that. I just asked him, Hey Brennan, if you're thinking about something, just say, dad, give me a moment.
I'm almost done with what I'm thinking about. And just that communication helped us better understand how to do this listening thing. So I would say, if you're thinking, I don't have time for that, I'm thinking just like with any skill, going back to, I wrote down here, brushing your teeth, learning how to read, you know, these kinds of skills, there's a lot of different skills that just going to sleep. If you're intentional about teaching these things, it's actually going to take less time in the future. Yeah. You do the baby steps now. So we have to start out by going up, touching your shoulder, getting eye contact, helping get you out of the space you're in so we can start moving in a different direction. But over time, just like most adults, I think I can just yell at you in the other room, Hey, can you take out the trash and, you know, and you'll say, yeah, in five minutes.
And because we've built the skill, right? So your kids can get there, but we just have to remember if they don't have anything yet, we start small and we build it and we build it and they get better and better and they get better at communicating. You want that, you want that thing back. You want, if I've given you a command, I want that response back. When are you going to do it?
How's it going to go? Is it something I need? You know, I need you to do this right now. Okay. I'm on my way. You know, you want that back and forth communication.
That's a great skill that they can take with them everywhere in life. And you build towards that, but then you get there and things are actually pretty fine running. Yeah. Less conflict. Yeah. I mean, there are stages of development or things going on in life, but if, if I'm feeling the urgency, that's kind of on me and the schedule I set up, right. And for me to push that onto them, I need to own, we're in a tight spot. I've overbooked us, um, you know, or we've got all this extra stuff that just landed on our plate and I'm stressed and I'm feeling urgency, but that's not really a fault of my child. And so I, I, I like the example of learning how to read Sara, because I think if the kid was struggling to learn how to read, we would think we just need to support the kid to be able to read better. There's a positive intent belief that the kid wants to eventually to learn how to be competent in doing that.
So if you think of listening as a similar skill, it takes time. It takes something that I've got a model I'm going to invite them into. Right. So I was, I was thinking for me, I want to get out of the, the, the dance of when I think they're not listening to me, I jump right to, they're ignoring me those statements.
They don't care what I have to say. Um, somehow they're disrespecting me, right? They need to listen right now, right? Instead of having those thoughts come that are going to trigger me and then cause me to turn against the kid. And almost every time you're going to find yourself yelling, getting more punitive, giving consequences, which isn't going to teach the kid the skill. And instead, just like you were saying, I'm going to think, what is it I want the kid to do right now? For instance, with the Brennan thing, when Brennan wasn't responding back, I asked him, what was the deal? And he tells me, well, he's thinking about something and it's hard for him then to respond as quick as I'd like him to.
So then I was able to add that. Okay. I would like him to let me know that because I'm believing all of these other things that aren't true when he's not quickly responding, right? So once he could say, Hey, give me a moment to think about that. And this happens a lot with kids in session.
I'll ask kids questions sometimes. I don't know. And they'll take like 30, 45 seconds thinking about it. And then at the end, they'll be like, what was the question? I'm completely not even remember what I asked.
And I'll say, Hey, how about we do this? How about in the future when I ask a question, why don't you say, is this what you're asking? And then I know now they're thinking about the question because we just sat there for 30, 45 seconds in silence and they didn't even know what I was asking, you know? And so it's all about learning that kid and you staying focused on where you want to guide them instead of stopping them or opposing them where they're at. OK, so it takes modeling and I need I need to be responding the first time to my kid as well, right? So I wrote that down that if I expect this out of my kid, I need to reflect, am I doing this when the kid wants my attention?
You know, how many times am I ignoring them? How many times are they having to say my name 20 times? You know, how do you deal with that? Because I bet every mom on here is like, but they're constantly wanting my attention.
Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom. We know what that. Yeah. And they do.
You could be doing your grocery list or planning dinner or talking on the phone and they just come up, start talking to you. I see it. I watch them do it all the time with you.
Can you tell I'm in the middle of something? They'll both be talking at the same time.
How is this possible? But yeah, you have to slow them down and remind them.
Bridges bring the awareness. Oh, do you see I'm doing this? Yeah. And I say to them, I want to hear what you have to say. Give me a minute to get this last item on the list. Or, yeah, I do the same thing I'm asking of them. Exactly. I turn my focus for a second. Tell them, you know, let them know what's going on and then come back to them. And if it's urgent, I might set it down and just model the same thing I'm asking.
So I love this. What we're saying is we don't want our kids demanding the same thing of us. Right. Every time they say your name, they demand you listen to them. Right. Right. And it's inevitable. If you believe that is the goal with your kid, you will raise kids who believe that is the goal for you. And if we demand that of them, they're more likely to do it.
That's what I'm saying. So instead, we want them to understand that the world doesn't revolve around them by showing them the world doesn't revolve around us. Yeah. That each of us are individual human beings who have their own brains and their own thoughts. And it's respectful communication to start from that point to understand that I don't know what's going on in your world. And I for me, the demand, unless it's an emergency that you didn't drop everything just to focus on me, that is, to me, a disrespectful expectation. You know, it's not respecting their autonomy.
So I want them to know I would like them to listen to me for sure. And I think it's healthy for them to do that. But they would also like me to listen to them and not be distracted and not have a hundred things going on. And so in order to make that happen, we need to have some boundaries about what those expectations are and then teach those skills. Yeah. Yeah. OK, good. So I hope this helps expand your thought process about kids listening the first time and what a different way to approach it, a different way to teach it, because we do want kids that are fantastic listeners, but we don't want kids that always just listen to others and not themselves, too.
We want them to have that balance. So I hope that gives you a different picture. You know, I would ask you to, you know, coming up in this holiday season, you're going to get a lot of opportunities to be with the kids. They'll be off over Thanksgiving and Christmas break. And so going in, I think, should be a great skill to focus on. What are expectations around listening, talking as a couple? Are we you know, are we are we modeling this to them, you know, or are we demanding more of them than we do of ourselves? Right. And so we're going to have these expectations on the kids. We want to support them, encourage them, guide them just like we do with other skills that we teach them. So I hope this gives you some some some something to work on over the holidays and to just help this whole process with the family get smoother, have less conflict.
Thanks for listening.