Welcome to the all new Two-Minute Tuesday, brought to you by Chad Rudnick, M.D. and Boca VIPediatrics! Join us for two minutes as we interview some of the top experts in pediatrics & parenting.
In today’s installment of Two-Minute Tuesday, we are fortunate to have Jennifer Kelman, social worker and life/parenting coach extraordinaire!
As a parenting coach, Jennifer is used to dealing with listening and behavioral issues in children of all ages. Just when you think you’re at the end of the rope with getting your child to listen, Jennifer swoops in (superhero cape included), observes, and has a relatable way of being your advocate in parenting while getting your child to attempt the unthinkable…LISTENING!
We sat down with Jennifer to ask some frequently asked questions she gets from parents on common behavioral issues. In today’s Two-Minute Tuesday, let’s hear two “gotta ask” questions (more to come in the next installment…) and answers from Jennifer.
Common Parenting Concern:
“My Child does not listen to anything I say and I can’t get them to do anything I ask!”
Jennifer: Children of all ages test and will continue to do so throughout their childhood. Sorry for the bad news, but this happens at all ages and many stages. It can be frustrating at any age. For the purpose of this answer, I will focus on the child between the ages of 3 and 6. As children develop, they are trying to see what they can achieve on their own and how far they can push to get what they want.
When I work with parents and they bring this issue to me, the most common factor is lack of consistency on the parents’ part. It is really hard to be consistent all the time…we are tired, we are hungry, and we just want the noise to stop! Sometimes it feels easier to give in or give over so we don’t have to deal with the whining or begging or complaining.
It is a short-term solution and the problem then becomes a long-term one. Children test and don’t listen because they are smart and they know that sometimes mommy and daddy say no and sometimes they say yes. They wonder, which will it be this time and if I go on for a long time can I wear them down? The less consistent we are, the more likely they won’t listen when we ask them to do something. If kids know what to expect and can rely on that consistency then they know that whining and begging does not achieve a different outcome.
I am not suggesting that they only hear the word no from you. Give them some wins and some yes’s…they need this to feel some efficacy and control and they will trust you and know that your word is something they can rely on.
Common Parenting Concern:
My child thinks they are the boss. What can I do?
This is usually because of a lack of a defined boundary between parent and child and this can be true at any age. Parents often want to be their child’s friend and have their child like them, but families thrive when parents are parents first. There is plenty of time to be friends later on, but right now the job is to be the parent.
Nowadays, parents don’t even get to have ownership of their own things such as iPads, cell phones, etc. It may sound simple but even setting a boundary around the use of these things can go a long way to see that there is a clear boundary between parent and child. Kids often think they are the boss because they are and the parents allow it, because sometimes it is just easier to avoid the battle. But if boundaries are clear and consistent, then battles become less frequent and respect is restored.
Jennifer Kelman is a licensed clinical social worker and life/parenting coach. She has worked with individuals, families and adolescents for the last 24 years. She has a fresh and direct approach and believes there is a solution to all things. She has lectured around the country on various topics such as self esteem, parenting issues, eating disorders and more. Jennifer grew up in Jericho, New York, where at age 14 she began babysitting and volunteering at her local hospital to help children suffering from illness. Her love of children prompted her education and career path, as she graduated with a BA in Sociology from American University and then a Masters in Social Work from New York University.
Follow Dr. Chad Rudnick on Twitter: @Peds_doc