How Can I Make My Kids Listen to Me and Respect Me?
My kids never listen. It’s like they do exactly what they want and don’t care what I say. My husband says I should just get off their backs, so I don’t get any support from him! How can I make my kids listen to me and respect me?
Mommy Zen™ Says:
We very often get exactly what we expect from other people. It sounds to me like you are feeling very unsupported and disrespected straight across the board. It may be that you are even not expecting respect any more. That needs to change. You can teach people how to treat you. In doing this, you will also teach your kids self respect.
First of all I suggest a heart to heart talk with your husband. You have probably already talked to him about this in some way. I think it’s worth another try. Choose a time when neither of you is stressed and ask if you can share a concern with him. Tell him clearly and directly that you are concerned that the children are learning unhealthy patterns here and you want to solicit his support and partnership.
The Goal is Raising Healthy Children
Keep in mind that the goal is raising healthy children, not being right. So listen to his concerns. Perhaps he thinks you put too many restrictions on the kids, or that you nag too much. Be open minded and examine whether or not anything he says may in fact be happening and resolve to make some changes.
Come to an agreement with your husband concerning what behavior you both expect from the kids and what the consequences will be. Agree that you will back each other up.
Set Clear Ground Rules and Clear Consequences
Then have a meeting with the family: Mom and Dad and the kids. Lay out the “new” ground rules clearly.
“From now on, we will all respect each other. We just want to make sure that we are all on the same page and understand each other.”
Then articulate the rules and consequences and expectations clearly. (For example: “You stay out later than expected and don’t call, you don’t go out the following evening.” Then follow through).
Follow Through is Key
The key is follow through. No need to get mad. There was an agreement. It was broken. There are consequences. Period. No Drama.
What if Parents Don’t Agree on Rules and Consequences?
Now just in case there is no agreement between parents, you can still create an environment in which you will be respected. You sit down with the kids and have that conversation. You tell them your expectation and rules and consequences, and you follow through. Have enough respect for yourself to know that it is you who teach people how to treat you.
You don’t have to whine or nag or blow up. Simple calm assurance. Walk in that.
Marianne Clyde is a licensed marriage and family therapist, specializing in anxiety, depression, relationship issues and eating disorders. Happily married with a combined family of 8 children and 10 grandchildren, her office is located at 20 Ashby Street in Warrenton, Virginia. For more information, visit: MarianneClyde.com or call 540-347-3797.