I remember watching a stand up routine by Bill Cosby back when I was a kid. There is a part where he talks about having to repeat himself a thousand times because his kids won’t listen to him. I think of that routine just about every day lately as I’m having to tell my kids 30 times to go brush their teeth or go put their pj’s on.
It could be one of THE most frustrating aspects of having three of them because they feed off of each other. One ignores you so all three do. So what’s the deal?
Have been looking up some resources to get some answers. Here are a few that seem to offer some good insights that may help.
Getting to the root of WHY they’re not listening I think is important and I tend to agree with the one article that states they’re trying to gain control because they feel they don’t have any. Couple that with their ages and a few other elements and you literally have the perfect storm. So perhaps one answer is to provide them with things that they can control to off-set that trend. Obviously the divorce gives them a sense that they have absolutely no say in what’s happening. When they stay with me I try to offer them tasks that they’re in charge of to help them feel they’re in control of at least something. And of course there’s always the ‘lead by example’ approach.
I think the biggest lesson here for us parents is to remember that for every action there’s usually an underlying cause that we may not be considering. They’re not acting out because they’re bad kids. They’re working through something and it’s our job to try to dig beneath the surface and help them through it which in turn helps everybody. When they act up your first question to yourself should be, “I wonder what might have happened to them today to trigger this behavior.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve discovered that something that happened at school was causing one of them to act up. Staying calm and turning it into a mental puzzle of sorts turns you into a detective. When you figure it out it’s one of the most gratifying moments of triumph you’ll ever experience as a parent I promise you.