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When our children don’t listen, our first instinct is to label them as ‘bad’ or ‘stubborn.’ However, the vast majority of the time, if your kid isn’t listening to you regularly, chances are, you are the problem.

Now, that might offend a few of you, and while I am sorry, it has to be said. When you are trying to get your child to listen to you and to do as you say, there are a few things you need to bear in mind. If you are never following through, are always inconsistent, and phrase yourself the wrong way, you could unintentionally be setting yourself up for failure.

Here are 4 tactics you can use to get your kids to listen to you.

1. Have clear expectations and consequences in place when they disobey.

Have clear expectations and clear consequences in place for when they disobey or do not listen. When the occasion arises, do not step back from your consequences, follow through.

2. Don’t lecture.

It might be tempting to lecture them, but as soon as you start, they are going to block you out. Instead, talk to them like a person and be direct. Don’t yell a bunch of commands, speak to them slowly, and find common ground.

3. Check your tone.

Make sure that you are using the right tone of voice. You don’t want to sound like a drill sergeant, and you also don’t want to sound like you aren’t confident. Approach them assertively and do not ask them – tell them.

4. Speak with intention.

When you deliver the message, make sure that what you are saying matches what you are telling them. What I mean is that if you say, “Can you clean the bathroom up for me?” and they respond, “Nah, I’m busy right now,” the problem isn’t them not listening, it is in how you are telling them.