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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Why Children Don't Listen? The Delicate Art of Listening

By Andrew Loh

Good communication skill is the essence of life. To develop this communication skill, one should develop the art of listening. Listening and communicating are two faces of the same coin. One will not exist without the other. They are interdependent and inclusive. Here are some techniques that you can deploy to make your children listen to others.

Before you start teaching your children about the art of listening, you should remember some simple things. Talking is a one-way traffic. It becomes dual-mode when the other person responds to your conversation. When someone just hears to your vocal sounds, there is no dual-mode of communication. It is almost like a one-way and one-channel radio. When you talk to someone, that someone should listen to you. He or should hear your voice and understand what you are saying.

Rule #1 - Talk to your children at their eye level.

Rule #2 - Never ever, speak in a Shakespearean voice. Make sure to use simple words that your children can understand.

Rule #3 - Be concise and specific. Never waste your words. Come to the point straightaway.

Rule #4 - Never ever, get angry or yell at your children. It is counter-productive and children become disrespectful and non-cooperative.

Now, consider the following conversations that are most likely to occur in every other home:

  • "Did you do your project work?" - All silence at the other end!

  • "Did you do your homework?" - All silence at the other end! The child simply leaves the room without talking.

  • "Did you clean your room?" - The child starts reading a comic book! Silence!

These are the instances of a defying behavior. Your child might have listened to your voice but he simply refuses to obey your command. Other reason could be your child failure to listen to you. It means that there is some problem with him. You may need to train him for the art of listening.

Some more examples

Your child is watching a favorite cartoon show on TV. The volume level on the TV is too high. You will call out your child to cut the volume. However, nothing happens and your child never turns down the volume level. In another example, your child is busy in reading a storybook. You call your child to put that thing away in the kitchen. However, the child never responds to your call.

Here, there is a genuine problem with your child. He or she is not endowed with the social art of listening. Parents may need to help their children to master the art of good listening.

Developing good listening habits

Children are the mirrors that reflect the image of their parents. If parents are not good models, you cannot expect their children to be socially gifted with the art of listening. Bea good role model your children. You should be a good listener yourself first before you can expect your children to become one. Demonstrate that you can listen to what other people are saying in front of you. Make a habit to listen to your children problems. They will appreciate your for that behavior.

Give respect to your children

Some parents never show any respect their children minds. Most people deploy negative techniques to discipline their children. Parents can easily do the following things:

  • Criticize

  • Order powerfully

  • Preach for hours

  • Give plenty of opinions

  • Judge others and pass comments

  • Threaten others with serious actions (example: Come here or I will beat you)

  • Yell with a loud voice (example: "John, Where are you?")

  • Plead helplessly (example: "I beg you! Please do your homework")

Note: These keywords are very important. You should remember them always. Never ever, use those worlds.

Raise attention level and then start talking

A child without your attention is the one who is lost! Make sure to raise attention levels in your children before you talk to them. Snap your finger with a loud click and draw your children's attention. Make sure that your children are looking at your eyes before you start talking. You can lift your child's face and start talking firmly.


  • "Please look at me and my eyes! Just listen to what I will be saying now and later you can watch that TV show"

Note: Repeat this behavior several times a day and you can see a sea of changes in your child's everyday behavior.

Give occasional warning

At times, children may be carried by what they are doing and they may fail to listen to their parents. If this happens, you can use a mild warning. Occasional warning will confirm your superiority over the children. Set a time limit to your warning.


  • "John, I need your help within five minutes from now. I really appreciate if you turn that TV off and help me in my work."

  • "John, be ready to go to garden. I want you to help in planting those seeds. Five minutes now."

Make it simple

Keep your words to a minimum and be specific. Never ever, give lengthy sermons to your children. They just discard them and start disobeying! Use a clipped tone and voice to instruct your children.


  • "John, homework now!"

  • "John, clean table now"

  • "John, dinner time"

Use a behavioral makeup plan to train your children. This plan is an efficient system to train young people to learn the art of listening. The main goal of training is to distract what your children are doing now and make them understand the next course of action. The transition from one phase to the other will confirm your children's ability to acquire listening skills.

Featured Resource

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
By Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk is an excellent communication tool kit based on a series of workshops developed by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. Faber and Mazlish (coauthors of Siblings Without Rivalry) provide a step-by-step approach to improving relationships in your house.

The "Reminder" pages, helpful cartoon illustrations, and excellent exercises will improve your ability as a parent to talk and problem-solve with your children. The book can be used alone or in parenting groups, and the solid tools provided are appropriate for kids of all ages. An exceptional work, not simply just another 'how to' book. All parents can use these methods to improve the everyday quality of their relationships with their children.


Featured Resource


Child Development

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