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174: How to Discipline a Child Who Just Won’t Listen

By February 15, 2022November 8th, 2023Highlight, Mastermind Parenting Podcast

How do you discipline a strong-willed child who just won’t listen? We’re building on last week’s episode where I unpacked the topic of how to best discipline your child, going a little deeper to tackle those stubborn kids. And the more you request they do something or change a behavior, the more they dig in and just won’t budge.

So frustrating, I know. Bing ignored and dismissed when you’re supposedly the authority figure can feel demoralizing, rude, and disrespectful. It also can feel chaotic and stressful, both for you and your child. It brings all these things up for us as parents, and even if we start off nice, sweet, and calm, we can lose our tempers and start commanding or yelling.

Listen to this episode where I go through a scenario many of us have likely experienced. I walk you through what might be going on in this situation and give you some tips on how to deal with it if you find yourself headed down this path.

I’ll show you how you can be the leader of your own little wolf pack, and command the authority you deserve while getting your kiddo to make a choice that’s a win-win situation for everyone. We’re going to disrupt the negative attention-seeking pattern that may have formed, allowing you to step in and have your voice heard. Again, just like last week, this is one of the most familiar challenges parents face, and one that I often see parents struggle with, but it doesn’t have to be that way!

As always, thanks for listening, and be sure and head over to Facebook and you can join my free group Mastermind Parenting Community, where we post tips and tools and do pop up Live conversations where I do extra teaching and coaching to support you in helping your strong-willed children so that they can FEEL better and DO better. If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it!

About Randi Rubenstein

Randi Rubenstein helps parents with a strong-willed kiddo become a happier family and enjoy the simple things again like bike rides and beach vacays.

She’s the founder of Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast, and author of The Parent Gap. Randi works with parents across the U.S.

At Mastermind Parenting, we believe every human deserves to have a family that gets along.

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My name is Randi Rubenstein, and welcome to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast at Mastermind Parenting, we’re on a mission to support strong-willed kids and the families that love them. You’re listening to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast with Randi Rubenstein episode 1 74. Well, hi guys, welcome to the podcast this week. The topic today is How to Discipline a Child Who Just won’t. Listen, I mentioned last week that I just did some Google searches to see what parents are Googling. And the first one was what’s the best way to discipline my child. And so if you haven’t listened to that podcast, go back and listen to 1 73.

And this one, How to Discipline a Child Who Just won’t Listen, which to me is really code for how do I get my kid to listen? Like my kids ignoring me? How do I get my kids to listen? Because being ignored, being dismissed when you’re supposedly an authority figure, it feels demoralizing. You know, it’s kind of like if you were ever the person that I don’t know, like I remember at my summer camp, we used to do color wars and like there would be a boy and a girl from the oldest cabins who’d get chosen to sort of be the team leaders.

(1m 24s):
And they were just a couple years older than the other kids there were supposed to lead. And it was always the worst. When you got put on a team where your team leaders didn’t have that authority, like nobody was listening to them. Everyone was goofing around and they were like trying to blow their whistle. Hey, you guys come on. Hey guys, you know, I remember just like sitting there thinking, oh, this is the worst. Like without the proper leadership, nothing ever runs smoothly. And it’s just sort of stressful for everyone and never a great experience. If you ever had a teacher who also like, didn’t know how to show her authority in the class and get, just get it together.

(2m 7s):
She always felt like there was chaos. It’s stressful. It’s stressful for a little kid. And so for the person who is up there trying to manage people and not having the skillset to get people, to listen to you, it can just chip away at your self-confidence. It can make you feel terrible about yourself, and nobody wants to feel that way. And so when our kids are ignoring us, I think that’s why so often people, even if you start out nice, most of the time parents resort to yelling, because it feels disrespectful. It feels rude. It feels dismissive.

(2m 48s):
And It brings all these things up for us. And so quite often, when our kids aren’t listening, we really go into all of our old hurts. You know, if we don’t have the ability to command authority, we get angry. And somewhere in our brain, it reminds our brain of all the times. Maybe we felt ignored, dismissed, disrespected. And now all of a sudden you’re supposed to be the parent who is respected and listened to. And then you feel like you’re not doing your job well. And so it just makes you pissed, right? Cause you’re, you’re scared that your kids are never going to respect you. And that just spirals out of control.

(3m 30s):
So How to Discipline a Child Who Just won’t Listen, like how do I get them to listen to me? That’s what I’m talking about today. So I’m going to read a couple of scenarios that I pulled off the internet that parents of strong-willed kids posted. Actually, I think I just pulled one. It says today has been tough. The last three days have been tough. I told him to put on a belt since his pants were falling down and he refused. Yes, I’m very short-tempered because I’m fed up. I really don’t see how things will ever get better regarding my son’s behavior and our relationship. Every all caps, every, every special occasion or holiday gets ruined by arguing.

(4m 13s):
I’m exhausted. Okay. I’m exhausted. Here’s the deal. It’s not going to get better because you’re not, you’re not commanding authority there. You’re not, and it’s not your fault somewhere. You received the message that your voice didn’t deserve to be heard somewhere at some point in your life. Tell me where I’m wrong on that. Like somewhere you were told to basically shut up and sit down and nobody was interested in what you had to say. And maybe you were told that directly. Maybe you were told that in nuanced ways, maybe you spoke and the adults dismissed you ignored.

(5m 2s):
You have, you tried to tell them something important. They weren’t interested. Okay. Somewhere you got the message that your voice didn’t matter. And so therefore you don’t know how to make your voice matter. Now, when it really needs to, and your son is not listening to you because he doesn’t think he has to, you’re not commanding that authority. And this is really difficult for so many women. I mean, this is where I think this is the rub of parenting for so many women who were raised in a culture where we’re told to basically sit down and shut up.

(5m 50s):
And many, many young girls do just that because it’s too painful not to. And then all of a sudden you’re put into this position of authority and you don’t know how to command that authority until we finally get, as she said, short-tempered. Because even when you start off, kind of me can agreeable and sweet and come on don’t you want to put your pants are falling down. So you want to put on a belt, all roads lead to aggression until you master that assertive communication style, commanding authority from a place of like what I call pack leadership.

(6m 33s):
You’re the leader of your pack. Everybody’s going to take you seriously. If you think about like a pack of wolves, think about the book call of the wild or the movie. You know, it’s like, you’re the pack leader, all the members of your pack. They know like you’ve got a job to do. You’re not engaging in nonsense. Everybody’s listening to you. And you know how to command that authority in an assertive way that other people respect. Unfortunately, I just don’t think that is the way little girls have been conditioned in our society. So we have some things to learn. This is the good news.

(7m 13s):
You get to learn it because you have little tiny pack members looking to you, waiting for you to command that authority. And the only way we master a skill is repetition, repetition, repetition. We have to practice it. So I told them to put on a belt since his pants were falling down and he refused, what do we know about that? How old is he? Did she say, she didn’t say how old he was putting on a belt, navigating the belt loops for, you know, and it sounds like it was a special occasion or a holiday. So he probably doesn’t wear this type of belt every day.

(7m 55s):
My hunch is it’s difficult. He may not have a lot of dexterity in his fingers. It’s hard to make sure you get it through all the belt loops. So what did he probably need from mom at that moment? It can be hard to snap out of the cycle that you’ve been in. If you feel constantly ignored, disrespected, dismissed, you don’t know how to command your authority. She’s exhausted. She doesn’t think they’ll ever have a better relationship. She sounds like a mom, like many of us where we’ve been. I mean, I can relate to this. Like when you have a strong-willed kid and they’re showing up in lots of ways that aren’t cooperative, it’s they, you love them, but it can be hard to like, so if she’s got all of that online, do you think she’s handling it with, Hey buddy, let me see those pants.

(8m 51s):
She shimmies him down to his underwear. She’s like, Hmm, I don’t want your underwear popping out. No, here here’s this belt. Can you, you, can you put on yourself? You want me to help you I’ll do it myself or I’m not. I don’t want to wear that. And it’s not an option. Your pants falling down. It trip you, your underwear sticking out, not acceptable. Nobody wants to see your underwear. So you can put the belt on yourself or I’m happy to help you to positive choices. You don’t care if they put it on themselves or I’m happy to help you.

(9m 35s):
Okay. And they try, okay, well, you know what? If you’re gonna put on yourself, I’ll sit here and knit, Hey, knock yourself out. And if you need my help, I’m right here. You get, you know, it can be hard to put these things on getting every single loop. Sometimes I miss loops and then figuring out where told to put the little stick thing in pulling it tight. No, it’s okay. I’ll just sit right here. Do you need my help? I’m right here. But it sounds like mom doesn’t have that patience because you know, she’s, she’s already in a dark place with her kid, but somebody has to be the grownup. That’s what we know. Somebody has to be the grown-up. Somebody has to shift out of this cycle that they’re in.

(10m 18s):
So how do I get my kids to listen? You start listening to them. You start really listening to them. What’s underneath the behavior. Why is he refusing to put his belt on? Are you making it mean? Just because he won’t do anything you want him to do, which that’s a power struggle. If he won’t do anything you want him to do. It’s because there’s been a lot of control on the scene. He’s felt like you’ve been trying to get him to do things. You’ve been trying to control him. And guess what we know about all humans, all Humans, crave freedom. So any time control is on the scene.

(11m 1s):
Rebellion is always inevitable. So if you are super controlling and just constantly giving your kids, you know, you have demands and demands and demands. Even the kids who are super compliant and easy and just do all the things that make you look like the perfect parent. When they’re little versus the strong-willed ones who are the honest ones who are rebelling from the get go, they don’t wait for teenage hood. The ones who are doing all the things, but feel super controlled. They’ll have their day in rebellion when they’re 16 and it’s scary and they’re are bigger than you and there’s vehicles involved.

(11m 42s):
And I would much rather have to deal with facing my own controlling ways that my kid is trying to hold a mirror up and show me when my kids are a there’s a lot less at stake. So yeah, no, we have to remember. Kids are always trying to get a need met. And there’s always a reason like, like Dr. Ross green says kids do well, if they can. So if they’re not doing well, they’re not putting on their belt. If they’re refusing to do all the things, what are they really trying to tell you? Like, you’re the mom.

(12m 23s):
I promise you. He loves you the most. That’s the fact, you’re the mom little kids. They have stars in their eyes for their mom. Now you might say, oh, not my kid. You haven’t met my kid. You haven’t seen my kid, but I want you to remember if your kid is just acting out all the time and that’s how they get your attention. That’s just because there’s a negative attention seeking pattern that needs to be disrupted. That’s the fight dance that you guys have gotten into. And that’s the way they know to get your attention. But I promise you, they just want your attention. All attention means I am relevant. You see me in our matter, even if it’s negative attention.

(13m 7s):
So who’s going to disrupt this cycle. Are we going to expect our kids? Who’ve just been born and they’ve only been here a couple of years and they’re learning how to be alive and human. Are we going to expect them to disrupt this pattern? To know how no we got to learn some new skills, right? We’ve got to learn how to step in and make sure our voices heard. We don’t start off sweet tea, sweet tea, sweet tea, and then get all barking. Crazy. We have to learn how to be that pack leader that other people respect. We don’t engage with nonsense.

(13m 49s):
We establish rules. We let people know what to expect. We’re very clear on what that is. These are the rules of this household. This is how this household runs smoothly. We don’t engage with nonsense. We number one, put the health and safety of our kids first. And guess what? A kid that isn’t well rested and is not eating any food that properly fuels them. That is a kid that is unsafe. They’re not giving their body what they need to thrive. So we have to start there. We always start with basic needs.

(14m 30s):
Always, always, always. So every special occasion or holiday gets ruined by arguing because this child is trying to tell you special occasion, holiday. I don’t care. I’m miserable. I don’t want to celebrate. I want you to get it together. Mom, I want you to heal from having your voice taken from you. I want you to heal from receiving the wrong conditioning and the wrong messages. I need you mom to step into the woman you were born to be.

(15m 16s):
That’s what I need from you, mom. Then I will do better when you have more. Self-worth when you honor yourself, when you make sure your voice is heard without becoming mean and barking and biting, when you do it from the get-go mom, when you learn how to command that authority and know that you are worthy of being heard, that’s when I will start to do better because you’ll help me feel safe in the world. So that’s what I got. That’s how we discipline. That’s how we teach a child who just won’t listen. We teach them by finding our own voice and becoming the woman we were born to be.

(16m 2s):
That’s what I got for you guys this week, sending so much love. Have a great one. Thanks for listening today, guys. I hope you picked up some tips tools, maybe some baby steps for creating more balance and boundaries in your life. And I just wanted to let you know, if you want to continue moving the needle forward in creating this for yourself, having a happier household. I want you to go to my website and check out Mastermind, Parenting dot com. We have three beginning programs, and if you need some accountability and more support, then please look for the one that would be a good fit for you.

(16m 43s):
And as always, we’re on all the social channels under Mastermind Parenting on Instagram, it’s mastermind, underscore parenting, and you know, periodically I do pop up on different Instagram lives, Facebook lives, where I give you teaching and coaching. And I love engaging with you live to help you help your strong-willed kids so that they can feel better because when they feel better, they do better. And I love, love, love, getting to know you guys. So thanks for listening. If you liked this podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe, rate and review super, super appreciative.

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