Ep #8: Why Don’t My Kids Listen?

Why Don’t My Kids Listen?

Why Don’t My Kids Listen?

Don’t you think it’s interesting that we expect our kids to listen all the time, upon command, even though we don’t necessarily do it ourselves? We’re not born with the skill of listening, it’s something that needs to be learned, and the same goes for our children.

Malcolm Gladwell’s principle is that it takes about 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become world-class at anything. To be great at something, we have to put in the focus, effort and time, and repeat this over and over again until we get it. This week, I’m showing you how to apply this principle to your peaceful parenting to help you be more understanding and compassionate towards your kids.

In this episode, I’m explaining why your kids aren’t listening and what you can do to better manage your reactions and emotions around it. I’m showing you how to change your perspective when you feel triggered by your child’s actions, and how you can better support your kids while they are building a skill or competency.

To celebrate the launch of the Real World Peaceful Parenting Podcast, I’m giving away a $50 gift card to use on one of my Peaceful Parent courses to 10 lucky listeners. All you need to do is subscribe, rate, and review the show! Click here to learn more about the giveaway and how to enter.


What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why great things take practice.
  • How to support your kids when they are learning a new skill.
  • Who one of my biggest mentors is.
  • How to have more empathy, patience, and understanding for your kids.
  • Why changing your perspective can evoke calmness and empathy.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:


Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to Real World Peaceful Parenting, a podcast for parents that are tired of yelling, threatening, and punishing their kids. Join mom and master certified parent coach Lisa Smith as she gives you actionable step-by-step strategies that’ll help you transform your household from chaos to cooperation. Let’s dive in.

Well hey there. Welcome to today’s episode. I am so excited to be with you here today. And absolutely thrilled to share with you some more Real World Peaceful Parenting concepts that are total game changers for you, for your kids, and for your entire family. I wanted to start today’s episode with thanking each and every one of you who are listening and learning, taking the time to rate and review the podcast. I am just absolutely honored to serve and to welcome you into the Real World Peaceful Parenting community.

I wanted to give a shoutout to Dani who left this review. She titled it Useful Stuff. “So glad Lisa started a podcast. She has such practical advice presented in a simple, straightforward manner. She’s so real. The personal advice and stories really hit the mark. And she’s also great about reminding us to be kind to ourselves. It feels like a no judgment zone.” Oh, Dani, that is soulful currency right there for me. So thank you so very much for leaving that review.

I just really want to encourage you to leave a review. Not for me, not for any other reason other than when you take the time to leave a review, you’re paying it forward. The more reviews the podcast gets, the more chance that Apple or Spotify or Stitcher or any other place where we put this up on their system. The more reviews, the more chance that they’ll recommend it to other parents when they’re searching parenting podcasts.

So my goal is to reach as many families as possible so they can take advantage of these tools. So they can learn them and bring them into their family. Together, we can change the world one family at a time. That’s really my mission.

So, today. Today we’re going to talk about being great at things. Let me start by asking you a question. My question for you today is what are you great at? Think about that for a moment. Just shout your answer out loud. What are you great at? Are you great at your job? Are you great at grilling? Are you great at singing? Are you great at lifting weights? What are you great at? I ask this because it’s really something important to think about when it comes to parenting.

Are you familiar with Malcom Gladwell’s principle that it takes about 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to be world class at something? Most of us know that to be great at something, we have to put in the focus, the effort, and the time. Right? Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat over and over and over again. Let me give you some examples.

Want to be a ranked tennis player? You’ve got to be on that court playing matches all the time. Working on your serve, working on your return, getting stronger. You’ve got to put the 10,000 hours in. Want to excel as a chef? You’ve got to chop thousands of onions. Just ask Julia Child, right? Want to be the last person standing in Fortnite? Your kids will be the first to tell you that in order for that to happen, you’ve got to play a lot. Right? Piano, chess, soccer, knitting, parent coaching, writing, scrapbooking. The list can go on and on and on. You get the idea, right?

Let’s look at one of my personal mentors. One of my biggest mentors is—and this might surprise you—is TB12. I am a big, big, big TB12 fan. Tom Brady, the GOAT. Winner of seven Super Bowls. Right? I’m not a fan of Tom’s because he’s flashy or good looking or married to Gisele. I’m a fan because Tom Brady is the epitome of 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. I mean come on. No one can dispute this.

At this point whether you’re a TB12 fan or not, you’re probably shaking your head going, “Yeah, I see where you’re going with this Lisa.” Yet at the same time, you might be wondering, “Okay, but what does any of this have to do with my parenting?” Stay with me. Stay with me. Recently I was working with one of my one on one clients who has two small children. She has a daughter that’s about to turn one and a little boy that just turned three. This mom is amazing. She’s really dedicated to peaceful parenting and she works mindfully at it.

So in one of our sessions, she was talking about how she feels triggered because her three-year-old son doesn’t listen to her. Can you relate to this? I mean #thestruggleisreal, right? So she said what really bothers her is how easily frustrated she is when her son doesn’t listen. She gets frustrated with him, but she gets even more frustrated with herself for being frustrated with him. She doesn’t like it. So we dug into this. We talked about what she can do. The conversation went like this.

I said to her, “Let me ask you this. When your one-year-old daughter doesn’t answer or doesn’t listen to you, why do you not get frustrated with her?” My client was like, “Lisa, seriously? Because she’s a baby, and she doesn’t understand.” I said, “Oh, so would you say she’s yet to learn to listen? That she’s new to listening?” You know, we have to learn to listen. We’re not born with the skill of listening. We’re actually born with very few skills. Very, very, very few. Our skills have to be developed with practice over time, right?

For example, I really have to work sometimes at listening to my husband. I was telling my client, “Sometimes I don’t want to listen or I’m tired. Or it’s hard to pay attention. I have to really work at the skill of listening.” My client laughed. She said, “Yeah, I do the same thing.” I said, “Yes, but isn’t it interesting that we expect our kids to listen well, all the time, the first time constantly and be great at it? You know the thing is, at three years old, he’s just learning how to listen. He doesn’t have the competency yet. He doesn’t have the 10,000 hours in yet to be great at something.”

I said to her, “Three, he’s maybe what 200 hours into listening? Maybe?” She said, “Oh, lord. This kid is maybe at best 100 hours into listening.” I said, “Okay. So let’s put this into perspective. He’s got like another 9,900 hours of deliberate practice at listening before he’s even going to begin to approach world class listening.” My client said, “Wow. I think you just put this in perspective for me. He is learning how to listen, and I’m expecting him to already be great at listening the first time every time.” She said, “I think I just needed to hear that.”

I said, “Yeah, we forget. As parents, we lose perspective. I do it all the time. We all do it.” I said, “I think that’s why parenting can be so triggering. Because it’s such a mirror to ourselves and our complex emotions.” I told her, “Just remember that your three-year-old is only 100 hours into his 10,000 hours. He doesn’t know how to listen yet. He’s learning and growing and developing the skill of listening.”

So then the question we all have to ask ourselves is how do I react? How do I show up? How do I support my kid? How do I model for them while they’re building a competency? While they’re putting their 10,00 hours in. I really want you to think about this. How do you want to support your child or children when they’re building a skill? Really think about this for a minute. As adults to adults at places like work or with friends or strangers or maybe in our volunteer life, how do you approach, manage, coach, and support those who are learning something new?

If you train people at work or you coach your son’s t-ball team or you volunteer at your daughter’s Girl Scout or you volunteer with the PTA. How do you approach, manage, coach, and support those that are learning something new? If we’re honest with ourselves, many of us afford newbies patience, grace, and understanding. Our brains automatically see that they’re new at something and they’ve just got to work at it over and over and over again to get to their 10,000 hours of deliberate practice, right.

Yet at home, sometimes we don’t have the same empathy, patience, encouragement, and understanding for our kids as they learn something new. Think about this for a minute. Our kids are learning lots of new things all the time. This client of mine. Her three-year-old wasn’t just a newbie at listening. He was a newbie at eating and putting his shoes on and brushing his teeth. His entire world was all about 100 hours into everything he’s doing. He is an expert at nothing. Nothing. Let that shift your perspective for a minute.

Remember. This doesn’t matter if your kids are three, 13, or 23. They’re still putting their hours in, their 10,000 hours in to be a world class expert at something. Tom Brady was not the quarterback the first year in the NFL that he is today in his tenth Superbowl appearance. Why? Because he didn’t have the hours in being a starting NFL quarterback. He didn’t have the hours in. A seasoned rock band is much better at live performances than they were when they were playing the college tour. Why? It’s not because they have a deeper love of music. It’s because they have more hours in to their profession.

So the question we have to ask ourselves is do we expect our kids to be experts at something automatically or just because? Even though they are little beings with little experience. #theirstruggleisrealtoo. I have to admit to occasionally having low patience with my son. Honestly, before my peaceful parenting journey began it was often. I’m talking really often.

Sometimes I expected him to be ready at the exact time I said. I expected him to turn off the lights after being told a few times because it’s important to me. Sometimes I still expect him to remember that Tuesday is garbage day. Sometimes I expect him to not be nervous about a new experience. When he doesn’t meet my expectations, I get triggered and frustrated and annoyed.

Then I remind myself that he isn’t 10,000 hours into building the competency yet. This reminder helps a ton. It calms me down, and it lessens the probability of being triggered. The reminder gives me perspective. It shifts how I see the situation. It reminds me that he hasn’t been on earth that many years. And that he has an underdeveloped brain, specifically an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex. It reminds me that while he’s learning and growing, I want to be patient, kind, understanding, and calm with my requests.

I tell myself that one day, yes one day Lisa, he will remember to turn off the lights when he leaves a room on his own. Probably about the time he becomes a parent himself.

Let me give you some more examples. Let’s say your eight-year-old is working on soothing herself at bedtime. She’s new to that experience. Or your 12-year-old is working on getting off gaming at an agreed upon time. He’s really enjoying the gaming, and he’s new to cutting himself off in a certain amount of time even though he’s having a good time. Let’s say your teenager is working on driving safely. She’s just not 10,000 hours in to driving the car around yet.

Your tween is working on not melting down every time she hears no. Her brain’s just not a world class expert at that yet. Your six-year-old is working on sitting in front of the computer all day for online schooling. Nope, not an expert. Probably 50 hours in. Your high schooler is working on planning out her homework and not getting behind. Certainly not 10,000 hours in. Remember your first job? Your latest job change? Learning a new art or a new sport? Can you relate? I sure can.

So let me share this again. Malcom Gladwell’s principle is that it takes about 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become world class at anything. Most of us know that to be great at something, we have to put in the focus, the effort, and the time. We have to rinse and repeat over and over and over again. If this resonates with you, I encourage you to keep this at the front of your mind and let it shift your parenting perspective. Let it shift how you view your request. Let it shift how you view your child’s performance.

As real world peaceful parents, your homework this week is to keep asking. Keep making the requests. Keep encouraging the listening. Ask them not to turn off the lights, ask him not to splash the water, ask him to pick up the toys, ask him to get off gaming at the agreed upon time.  Ask him to stay on Zoom rather than running around the room, ask him to put the phone away during class, etcetera. Just do it from the new perspective that creates connection, empathy, and understanding.

Remind yourself that they’re not world class experts at anything at this point. Approach it from a perspective that creates connection, empathy, and understanding. #progressnotperfection. You in? Can I count on you? Can your kids count on you? I love it. Okay. Until next time, I’m wishing us all peaceful parenting.

To celebrate the launch of the Real World Peaceful Parenting podcast, I’m going to be giving away a $50 gift card to one of my many Peaceful Parent courses. I’m going to be giving away one gift card to 10 lucky listeners who subscribe, rate, and review the show on Apple podcasts. It doesn’t have to be a five-star review, although I sure hope you loved the show. I want your honest feedback so that I can create an awesome show that provides tons of value.

Visit www.thepeacefulparent.com/podcastlaunch to learn more about the contest and how to enter. That’s www.thepeacefulparent.com/podcastlaunch. I’ll be announcing the winners on the show in an upcoming episode. So stay tuned.

Thanks for listening to Real World Peaceful Parenting. If you want more info on how you can transform your parenting, visit thepeacefulparent.com. See you soon.



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