I had the same question, so while writing my book Talk about Anything with your Kids, I went directly to the source. I asked children ages 6 to 13 why they don't always listen to their parents. Their responses were very honest and deeply revealing.
1. We've said it all before
One of the top complaints that kids have about how grown-ups speak to them is that we say the same thing over and over. The problem with repeating the identical phrases is that we become both predictable and boring. It is important to note that, as we become predictable in what we say, our children will learn to reciprocate with predictable responses. Observe this in action – the next time you say one of your standard lines to your kids, watch them respond to you in exactly the same way each time.
2. We don't give children our full attention
Children say that it can be very hard to get their parents' attention. This is not surprising considering how very busy parents are. In a world where multi-tasking is considered a virtue, we rarely give anyone or anything our full attention, let alone our children. This may not seem important until you realize that we are modeling the very behavior we don't want to see our in our children. Sure, there are times when you are busy and need to defer a conversation with your child. Just ensure that you give him/her your undivided attention a little later.
3. We load them down
What do we tend to do when we get extremely angry with a child? We blast them. We start with whatever set us off and then we roll in everything that has been irritating us for the past little while. There is so much stuff thrown together all at once that your child has no hope of sorting out what you are really upset about. Kids need clarity, simplicity and brevity in order to understand. Parents lose the ability to speak well when they are angry and our children can become overwhelmed by their own feelings of fear. There is really no talking or listening happening in this situation, just high levels of intense feeling.
Page 1 of 2 - Keep reading to find out why you might need to clean up your life because your kids are always watching.