By Amy Morin
Whether your child responds to your directions by saying, “In a minute!” or he ignores your commands completely, dealing with a child who doesn’t follow directions can be frustrating. Some parents respond by doing the task themselves, while others resort to yelling or nagging in an effort to gain compliance.
If your child doesn’t follow your instructions the first time you speak, examine the way you’re giving directions. These common mistakes can decrease the chances that your child will listen:
1. You Give Too Many Commands
You likely give your child hundreds of commands each day, ranging from “Pick up your socks,” to “Stop banging your fork on the table.” If your child misbehaves often, it’s likely he receives many more commands than other children.
Bombarding your child with nitpicky instructions like, “Color inside the lines,” and “Pull your socks up,” will cause your child to tune you out. Your voice will become like background noise if you’re constantly offering advice and warnings about things that aren’t all that important.
Only give the most important instructions. Avoid giving the extra commands that are simply based on your preferred way of doing things – rather than the way your child must do something. While it can feel uncomfortable to watch your child do things his own way, overparenting your child can have serious consequences.
2. You Give Weak Directions
3. You Repeat Your Instructions