Preventing Parent Deafness

Children laughing and giggling with friends may hear parents but the words might not register as they would like.

By Jackie Saulmon Ramirez | September 9, 2015

Parent deafness was a term coined many years ago that meant children were not listening to parents. When I hear from a parent that their child is not listening to them, I have to wonder why. Some children might actually choose to ignore a parent, but others, I think, tend to tune out a parent who talks on and on or preaches and reminds.

When my daughters were younger, I tried to limit the amount of speech (lecturing and preaching) so that they would not become parent deaf. Doing that meant that I edited my words the same as I would something I wrote like this Reminder or a letter to a company. That was especially needed with something important like instructions or a message. The fewer the words, the more important each word choice becomes.

We tend not to hear ourselves when we are talking (or yelling) because speech is automatic; we think and verbalize almost instantaneously. But if we take a moment to formulate communication then we may be less likely to confuse what we intend to say with too many extra words (or yelling).

Getting kids stop reading or playing a game to look parents in the eye can help kids absorb what is being said.

How can parents get kids to listen and understand what they are saying?

• Make sure kids are not absorbed into media of some sort; if they’re listening to music, texting or playing a video game – they will not hear parents.

• Get kids to focus on listening; if kids are busy making a sandwich, they are thinking about a PB&J, not listening to parents.

• When finished speaking, parents can ask kids to repeat back to them what was said. If they get it wrong, ask kids to sit and make eye contact while what was said is repeated.

Practice does (sort of) make perfect. Do you have other ideas to ensure kids listen? We would love to hear from you.

PHOTO: Courtesy of CK, Carl, Carlo, Carlito Under Flicker/CC License.
PHOTO: Courtesy of Bart van Maarseveen Under Flicker/CC License.

Copyright © 2014 Jackie Saulmon Ramirez. All Rights Reserved.

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About Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

Jackie has volunteered for more than twenty years for children and family issues. Currently she writes for parents in the "Reminder" and "Parent Rap" Facebook page. If you are interested in receiving the "Reminder," send her a message.
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