Do you ever feel like a broken record? Lately, I have been feeling like a crazy person. Sometimes my kids simply choose not to listen to me. At one point, my husband and I wanted to get my sons ears checked because I thought, maybe he truly can’t hear me. Turns out, he had a real condition, it’s called selective hearing. Im pretty sure kids from age 2-10 have it! They don’t hear certain demands or requests, they only hear things like, “lets go get ice cream” and “let’s go to Disneyland.”
This selective hearing, or should I say selective listening has become quite an annoyance to my husband and I. There are two requests that we repeat probably 50x a day and they are;
“Buckle up” and “Eat your food.”
Every time we get in the car, the kids take a solid 15 minutes to buckle up. I end up asking over and over and over and they give me every excuse. Brynn says, “But first, let me grab this toy.” “But first, I need to get some water.” “But first, I need to give Brooke a kiss.” I start out nice, “Please buckle up kids.” Then it turns to a stern, “Ok kids, time to buckle up.” A little more annoyed, “Did you hear me? BUCKLE UP!” By the 15th time it sounds more like, “DANGIT, JUST BUCKLE UP YOUR SEATBELT!!!!” I hate yelling but sometimes they make me yell. Why make me ask 15 times, why?! Just listen!!! Ahh, this is where my mind gets lost.
Braxson has a hard time with eating his food, he just gets distracted and makes excuses as well. This leaves me feeling like a crazy person just repeating the same requests over and over with no response. I have tried asking gently, I have tried being stern, I have tried getting down on their level and asking eye to eye, I have tried bribing them (and I’m not proud of it) but sometimes I am so over it that I say, “I’ll give you a fruit snack if you buckle up.” or “You can stay up later if you finish your dinner.” Even bribing doesn’t work long term.
My husband and I look at each other, wondering what the heck we’re doing wrong? Why can’t they just EAT or BUCKLE UPPPPPP! We joke that we sound like broken records and we are sick of it! The actual definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. No wonder we feel insane, we are insane!! One morning I decided, if I have to say “buckle up” one more time, I am surely going to turn to drinking. So here’s what I did…
The kids and I were loading up the car, the kids climbed in and I said, “alright kids, you know what to do when we get in the car.” I said it in a cheerful voice with absolutely no expectation. They said, “Yep, we will buckle up and go.” They both climbed in and buckled up with no “but firsts….” no arguments, no ignoring me. My mind was BLOWN. Is that it? I don’t have to do anything else?!
What I realized is, my kids already know whats expected of them, I don’t need to constantly remind them. I basically need to shut my mouth and trust that they can do it on their own, without my constant reminders. We tell them what to do often enough, but how often do we trust them to doing it without being told what to do? They aren’t stupid, they know the routine by now.
It made me think of my mother in law. She always says, “don’t forget to bring the kids a jacket.” “Do you have a jacket for the kids?” “The kids need jackets.” She knows I keep two jackets in the car at all times. She doesn’t need to remind me every time I leave the house! Sometimes it irritates me or makes me want to say, “Stop saying that. I know they need jackets, I’m not stupid!” (I have the best mother in law in the world she is literally one of my best friends, so don’t get me wrong! I am not complaining about her at all. I am simply admitting that I, too, do this constant reminder thing to my kids!) I am not sure why we do this or how it got started but somewhere along the way we forget what it feels like to be the kid on the other side of the demands. Why do we tell them things THEY ALREADY KNOW!?
So, instead of telling them to do things they already know they need to do, I am now deciding to trust them, and let them be capable of doing it! It’s unbelievable how well this worked for me.
What’s your broken record phrase? Maybe it’s
“Go to bed.”
“Share with your brother.”
“Brush your teeth.”
It could be anything! Doesn’t matter what the phrase is. Make a decision to break the broken record and NEVER say it again. Your kid doesn’t hear it anyways and the only person who is getting frustrated is you. Next time you start to say your particular phrase, replace it with, “You know what to do now.” or “What should you do next?” or something of the like.
Share in the comments what your broken record phrase is!
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