Have you ever known that parent who by their actions seemed to think that the louder their voice got, the more their kids would listen? (Of course, we’ve never been that parent, right?) There are more effective ways to get your kids’ attention.
But as we all know, it’s no secret that louder voices don’t raise more obedient kids. Yet many parents continue yelling at their kids with the volume default on high despite the fact that it rarely produces their desired results.
Somehow parents get the mistaken idea that if my kids aren’t listening, then I’ve got to start increasing my volume and intensity level. Unfortunately, many moms and dads have done this so much that their kids know exactly how much they can get away with before their parents reach the “snapping point” (when they know they’d better obey, or else). And so once mom or dad get to that point where they’re about to lose it, little Johnny or Susie reluctantly obey, so as to avoid “the wrath”.
A few good questions to ask for parents who operate this way on a regular basis are these:
- Do you think that’s the best way or even God’s intended way for parents and children?
- Which of these two things does it bring more of to your home – peace or tension?
- If it’s not really working, why do you keep doing it?
While there could be many different answers to that last question, some of them could be the fact that this was how we were raised as children… or it’s our alternative to having to use discipline, because we know they’ll eventually listen… or maybe because we’ve just given in to the lie that “That’s just the way it’s done.”
May I encourage you as a parent, that there is a much better way! You CAN get your kids to take you seriously without yelling at them or raising your voice.
Here are 4 ideas to get your kids’ attention:
1. USE WORDS WITH TEETH
Proverbs 29:17 Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.
“Say what you mean and mean what you say. Your kids know when you’re bluffing.”
Let your words stand on their own, without having to be backed up with the voice of a military sergeant. If your words are not obeyed, follow through with consequences. Do not follow up with incremental increases of volume or an eventual eruption of anger. Because words backed up with consequences have much more teeth than words backed up with volume.
We’ve all seen (or been) that parent who says ‘No’ 15 times before finally giving in to the demands of their child. Don’t be that parent. Follow through with your word. If you say “this is what will happen if you don’t stop”, then make sure that come what may, that is what happens if they don’t stop. Use words with teeth.
2. HAVE A FREQUENTLY USED ROD
Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom.
Biblical discipline is one of the greatest ways to avoid having to raise your voice with your kids. But you can’t just talk about it. You must consistently use it.
Especially when our kids were younger, they would test us and our rules even more when we were in public (usually at church or in the store). We came to realize how crucial is was in those moments that we won those “little battles.” Because our little “angels” were testing the waters to see how devilish they could get away with being when other people were around.
What we ended up having to do was carry a wooden spoon in our vehicle so that when those testing times reared up their ugly head, we could dismiss ourselves from whatever public setting we were in and go deal with business at the moment it needed to be dealt with.
A frequently used rod solved those problems more quickly and easily than being that parent in the store who’s yelling at their kids to behave, or that parent in the pew who sounds like a broken record telling their kids to “straighten up” in church.
3. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF INCENTIVES THAT MOTIVATE
Psalm 58:11 Verily there is a reward for the righteous.
The Bible clearly teaches that good is rewarded, so why shouldn’t we be using this approach to motivate our children to action and obedience? Who do you think is going to want to obey more, the child who’s on the receiving end of negativity and yelling, or the child on the receiving end of motivation and reward?
As a kid, there were a lot of things I would gladly do for my parents for things like… ice cream! As parents, let’s be careful not to give our kids everything they want without using it to both of our advantages. (new toys, games, clothes, media time) Learn to leverage those things as being privileges to be earned and kept, not rights to simply be expected. Take advantage of incentives that motivate, because “there is a reward for the righteous.”
4. LEVERAGE A SOFT ANSWER AND A STERN LOOK
Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grevious words stir up anger.
2 Samuel 22:28 Thine eyes are upon the haughty, that thou mayest bring them down.
There’s something powerful in whispered words that say “Just wait until we get home.” Or in a piercing look of displeasure that is absent of any words at all. Teach your children to know when you’re serious, and as a result, they will.
It may take a few times of proving this by backing your soft answer or stern look with appropriate consequences. But I assure you that they’ll learn to know when you’re serious, and they’ll take note. Learn to leverage a soft answer and a stern look in your parenting approach. It’s both biblical and greatly beneficial.
I hope these ideas will give you some tools/reminders to help align your efforts at parenting your children God’s way. God never intended for kids to be raised by angry and verbally abusive or loud-mouthed parents. If you’ll do it God’s way, you’ll be able to be taken seriously. And you’ll do it without yelling at your kids.
The best part is that everyone (you, your kids, and the person next to you in the grocery aisle) will be much happier because of it. 😉
This article about how to get your kids’ attention originally appeared here.