This trick to getting your kids to listen 100% of the time is based on the power of the overhead word and how our minds just believe things that come from an independent conversation.
Getting Your Kids To Listen (And Believe What You Say)
I learned this technique accidentally as a kid. And didn’t even realize it until later.
This is the power of the overheard word.
Negatively, we see this all the time with what your kid is saying to themselves people so easily.
The good news is this can be used for good too!
When we overhear two people talking (who don’t know we are listening), we put more validity into their words because we assume they are unbiased. Our brains process their words as truth.
If either of those people had come straight to you and said exactly the same words to your face, your brain would approach them with more suspicion. They could be filtering the words because they are talking to you. They could have an agenda.
That is the power of the overheard word.
I was in sixth grade (and I can remember this like it was yesterday).
I was asleep in the back of the one of the cars. We lived in Washington state and were on our way to Oregon for a family vacation. The whole family was going which is why we were spread out over multiple cars.
And I happened to be the only kid which is why I was stretched out in the backseat of the car. My mom and great-aunt Olivia (who lived with us), were in the front seat talking.
They thought I was asleep. In fact, I remember them starting this conversation with, “She’s asleep isn’t she?”
My brain immediately woke up with those words!
And then they went on to say some extremely powerful words that changed my life. They were talking about how good I was.
Is that amazing?
Saying things like, “I’m really proud of her.”
It had been a rough year in sixth grade. It was one of the toughest years of my life.
They were acknowledging that and saying that even though it was a rough year Holly has these character traits that were amazing.
And then they said, “She’s so pretty.”
And that was the first time I had ever thought of myself that way. Sixth grade was an awkward stage with braces and unruly hair.
I am so thankful that I heard those positive words about myself and because I overheard it, it made it more true in my mind.
Strategically Use This Super Power
If you can sneak in some sort of positive tidbit that you know your kids are overhearing, it could literally change their thinking.
You have to be sneaky about this because if they know what you’re doing it’s not going to work!
Use your whisper power for good!
This works really well on the phone. If your child hears something positive that you say to the person on the other end of the line, it is more believable than if you walked into their room and said the same thing.
Don’t let that stop you from saying it to them too!
To give those overheard statements that can really really help replay what your kid is saying to themselves inside their head.
Be Sure Not to Fall into the Habit of Yelling
While I know it can incredibly frustrating when your children don’t listen, do everything in your power not to fall into the habit of yelling.
According to Psychologist Erica Reischer Ph.D., when we yell at our children what we are really teaching them is the habit of ignoring us.
Before you yell, really think about where the communication breakdown occurred.
And rather than react in an emotional and potentially relationship damaging way, think about how you can reapproach the situation by using positive words .
Another thing you can do is train yourself to whisper when you feel the urge to yell.
Crazy, I know.
But it can be done.
Psychologist Jeffrey Bernstein concludes that when we yell at our children we are training them to respond in anger to our anger.
This is not the goal. Getting our children to listen to us is.
So the next time you want to yell, try whispering.
And to take it a step further, whisper something positive and kind. Even if it’s the opposite of what you are feeling.
This not shows your children what self-control looks like, it builds them up, and shows them you love them.
Parenting is Tricky
While parenting can be very tricky, there are lots of wonderful techniques we can use to help our children become the best versions of themselves they can. And at the same time we can become the best mom we can, too.
By implementing the tips above, finding more ways to be present with our children, and with lots of patience and love, we can have amazing life-long relationships with our kids!
Hang in there momma, you can do this!
Download our Sneaky Plan Worksheet to get your kids to listen!
While our plan isn’t as sneaky as we’d like (haha) it sure is a practical, proven strategy to get closer to our children.
We encourage you to use this free printable to up your parenting game. Trust us, it works!
You can download it by simply clicking here.
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