How I Get My Kids to Listen to Me

by Andrea Anderson on January 17, 2018

How do I get my kids to listen to me?

I don’t.

Sometimes I can’t get them to listen to me.

And, sometimes I just give up.

Great parenting advice, right?

Keep listening…

My kids are individuals.  They aren’t me.

They have their own minds and came into this world with their own wants and needs and yearnings.

Then, I come along, their mom.

And, I think they need to follow my agenda, my ideas, my wisdom and often forgo what they want, need or desire so my agenda can be met.

My agenda, to get them to study, so they can do well in school.

My agenda, to get them to listen and be calm, so they can follow what others ask of them and be considered a polite, respectful member of society.

My agenda, to see them be their best.

Isn’t this a beautiful agenda?

Decent intentions wouldn’t you say?

There’s one problem with this.

This is what I want.  Not always what they want.

They want to be individuals.  Follow their hearts.  Say yes to me sometimes, and say no to me others.

They aren’t little robots.

They don’t always want to do school work, chores and sometimes don’t care if they’re considered polite.

Remember “polite” is a societal construct.  Once upon a time someone decided how we should and shouldn’t behave, so now we all consider that to be the standard.

What if we stopped worrying what the fuck others think of us and our kids and decided, yes, we like participating in our society.  But, fuck it.  Sometimes our kids, and us parents, just won’t be polite or meet up to the standards of all of this ingrained “polite training”.

And, guess what?  It’ll all be ok.

And, if our kids don’t always listen to us?

Well, they’ll have tests and teachers and bosses that will give them feedback.  They can decide for themselves to try or not.

We can’t make them do anything.  We can try.

But remember, when you feel like you’re pushing uphill to get your kid to do something.  Ask yourself why?

If it’s to meet an outside standard:  Good grade, be polite, etc, then it’s not a true core necessity.  It’s trying to meet someone else’s construct.

And if you keep pushing, you may start to damage your relationship with your kid.

They will grow resentful of a mother who forces them to do the opposite of what they feel in their heart.

And, you help to create distance between the two of you.

You also contribute to them feeling like they must push themselves to be “good enough”.  Instead of knowing they are already good enough.

Choose wisely.

Hot damn, this situation presses my buttons too.

I’ve grown up thinking the parents know best.

I’ve been slowly undoing this thinking and allowing myself to see my sons and I have an innate understanding of what each of us needs.  And when our ideas don’t mesh, I try to step back and see how we can honor each other.

And, when I can’t.

When my shit comes up, things like:

You need to study, so you can do well.  Or, you need to do these chores, so you can grow up and be a helpful, responsible adult.  I sometimes have to have my own little adult temper tantrum.  Turn away.  Take space.  Listen to some cool music. Not worry if my kids are listening to me.

Then, when I’ve let go of the subject, and my hook on whether or not they’re listening to me.  Then and only then, I can go back and talk with them.  Listen to them.  Listen to myself.  And try again.

I can ask them to study.

I can ask them to do their chores.

I can ask them to be polite.

And if they listen, cool.

If they don’t, they’ll create their own contrast, separate from my doing.

They won’t do as well on the test.  Then they get to see how that feels.

They might not help out when others are chipping in with chores and manual labor.  They’ll see how that feels.

A good friend might consider their impoliteness rude.  They’ll see how that feels.

Better yet, a girlfriend or boyfriend might be put off by their impoliteness.

So, here, in life’s hands on experiences, they will create contrast.  And in this contrast, they will learn more than I, their Mom, can ever teach or motivate them to understand.

In the meanwhile, I will try.  I will listen.  And I will set reasonable standards.

But in the end, I won’t always get them to listen.

They will need to listen to their own hearts.

And, in all honesty, I want them to be listening to, and following their own hearts, more than I want them to follow what any outsider instructs them to do, anyway!

Yes, follow their own, awesome hearts.

BTW, I write this after asking one of my sons to study for a test and getting the response of:  I don’t want to.  =)

Guess what I did?

I got upset.  I argued.  (my old fear surfaced.  What if he doesn’t do well?  He won’t learn to apply himself.  He might not go to college.  He might be a loser.  Shit, I better get him to study!)

BS.  This is not the case. I don’t know the future.  I don’t have a magic ball. I started to lose sight of the current situation and listen to my thoughts over what was happening in front of me.

What was really currently happening:  my son didn’t want to study and I got upset and challenged him to listen to me.

Then, I stopped.

I told him I was going to do something else for awhile.

I let go.

I plugged in. Popped on my headphones.

Listened to music that jazzes me.

And, in this case, music that helped me to feel grounded. Inspired.

And reminded me it’s all ok.  It just doesn’t matter if he listens to me or not.  He is already ok.  And will be ok.  Now and always.

Then, some “magic” happened.

I was relaxed and my son came to me.

Asked me to help him study.

I smiled and said yes.

I sat down and helped him.

Now, I’m not saying helping him was a walk in the park, it would have been frickin’ easier to let him not study, but, I helped him.

And, at this point, I hope he does well on the test, but, if he doesn’t, at least I know he tried and I tried.  And, I was reminded one more time.

Reminded, that this journey is not about him doing as I say.

It’s about me listening to him too.

Letting go of my crap.

And remembering, no matter what, I don’t have to help him be something he already is: Awesome.

Geez, sometimes I can take the long way to get to the Truth.

Yes, life is a journey, indeed.

Blessings to all of you moms on a similar journey.  To get our kids to be their best.  Correction, to remember the greatness our kids already are!(wink, wink!)

Rock on!


PS  Want some pretty cool, all natural strategies that get you results with improving ADD, ADHD, anxiety, and autism, all while still honoring where your kid is at now?  I’ve written a book that can help you in this arena. Check it out and grab a copy if you’d like.   Or, download the first two chapters for fr@ee here:

PPS  Are you in place where you’d like personal guidance with helping your son or daughter? Email me with your top 3 concerns for your child or teen and 3 steps that you’ve taken so far to help them.  I’ll review and get back to you if you qualify for a private Strategy Session.            Email:

Blessings  + Rock on!





Photo Credit: Maria-Elena Arjona Photography





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