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What do I do with two little boys who never seem to hear what I tell them?

Boys playing. Photo copyrighted BETH (a parent, asks): I've got two sons who are seven and five, and the only way I can get them to follow through and obey what I have asked them to do is stop them, look directly into their eyes, tell them what I want, and have them repeat back to me what I've said. This takes a lot of time, and I'm wondering if its the only thing I can do. Do you have any other ideas?

KEVIN (Dr. Kevin Leman): You could ask almost any kid in America how many times does your mom have to call you for dinner? Most American children will say, "Three times. The first time is just sort of a general alert. The second time Mom raises her voice, and I know its getting close to being serious. The third time, she adds my middle name and that's when I know I better get home fast." With that kind of routine, parents train their kids not to listen.

BETH: You know, there's a difference between talking to your children and at your children. If I just walk by and say to one of my kids, "Time to pick up your toys, "he just doesn't hear me.

But if I turn around, look him right in the face and say, "Mother wants you to pick up your toys, now what did I just ask you to do?" then he will say, "Pick up my toys." And then I say, "Do I want you to do it now or in ten minutes?" And he’ll say, "You want me to do it now," and he does.

RANDY (Randy Carlson): All this takes time, Beth, but its just part of parenting this age level. Its amazing how children can go through screening at school for vision and hearing and come home and simply be totally deaf and blind as far as seeing the mess on the floor and hearing what Mom wants done with it.

Author: excerpt from Parent Talk by Dr. Kevin Leman and Randy Carlson of Family Life Communications

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