Get Your Kids to Listen Now With Three Simple Habits


Get Your Kids to Listen Now with Three Simple Habits Meli Rentas Contributor Miami Moms Blog

The Struggle is Real

Many parents have to struggle with feelings of frustration and concern as it relates to their kids’ lack of follow-through. Oftentimes, this frustration is perpetuated by a neverending cycle of ineffective parenting skills. In my time working as a teen and family counselor, I noticed what seemed to be an inevitable correlation with parent frustration and child behavior: negative communication.

We’ve all heard that saying: children are sponges. This is evident when they’re little people learning to walk, talk, and so on. We often marvel at the rate in which they learn and grow. In alignment with that, children are also learning how to speak to themselves and others. The way in which parents interact with their children sets the stage for the child’s personality, self-esteem, and relationship with you.

Change Starts with You

It is for this reason that I’m sharing three of the most common forms of negative communication in parents. I know, this can be a strange and oddly shaped pill to swallow, but more often than not, when you want someone else to change, you need to change first.

Now that the hard is out of the way, keep in mind that these are by no means the only forms of negative communication- there are many more. But I like to keep these things simple and attainable and enjoy focusing on three small changes at a time.

1. Guilt

Have you ever felt the tinge of frustration with someone? What were they saying? Odds are they were speaking to you with one of these three negative communication tactics. Guilt trips aren’t fun, and no kid especially is interested in booking a ticket for one.

Instead of saying things like, “No one ever helps me. I don’t want to see what’s going to happen in this house when I’m gone.”

Try something like, “I am very tired and really need you to help with tidying up your room for five minutes. What do you want to start with?”

2. Criticism

Being overly critical can have damaging effects. Kids with perfectionistic family members often face harsh comments about their shortcomings while having their every move criticized. This usually affects a child’s self-esteem and ability to problem solve.

Instead of saying, “You are so lazy. I don’t know where you get that from. Not me, that’s for sure.”

Instead consider saying, “I understand keeping your dresser organized doesn’t come naturally to you. What one habit can you start today to help you keep your room neat?”

3. Pride

Ever had it out with someone who was clearly wrong? Maybe they were hurtful in a moment of frustration and emotional weakness? Have you ever had a falling out with someone who never took responsibility for their words or actions? On top of all, have they also never apologized?

If this sounds like you let me challenge you to practice intentionality in this area. Start by accepting that you, like everyone else, are flawed. You’re going to make mistakes in life and in your parenting.

Modeling humility and asking your child for forgiveness when you overact or hurt their feelings is an important part of building a solid relationship. There’s no better way to teach your child to ask for and offer forgiveness than by modeling it.


Parenting skills are developed over time and improve with community and support. Having the opportunity to connect with others is a vital way to analyze and improve as a parent. We are blessed to connect with so many professionals over virtual platforms like blogs, social media, and more. If you’re interested in learning more about relationships and communication, check out the list of parenting books below. Keep in mind that you can listen to the audio versions of these books with the Audible App by Amazon. 

  1. Parenting Teens with Love and Logic
  2. Parenting Kids with Love and Logic
  3. How to Talk so Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talk
  4. How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2 – 7 
  5. No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame

Let’s connect!

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Meli Rentas
Meli Rentas is a Miami-raised girl with Cuban-American parents. She was born in Fort Worth Texas were her dad was attending Southwestern Theological Seminary. After her dad completed seminary, Meli’s family moved back to Miami when she was four years old. She has a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in mental health counseling from Florida International University. She is also a state-certified school and guidance counselor and exceptional student educator. She has worked as a teacher, youth and adult counselor, and loves to help and serve families. After marrying and having her first son, Meli decided to stay home and dedicate herself to this new role as a mom. Throughout the past five years, she has both witnessed and experienced the real mental and emotional hardships of motherhood. It is her desire to encourage and equip mothers with all she’s learned both in mental health and as a mom on navigating this role with joy, love, and peace. Follow her on Instagram @melirentas


  1. Meli, this is great! I appreciate the new alternatives and hoping I can start early with our almost three year old! Thank you!

  2. Thank you for this! I have a 9 year and an 11 year old and this is my constant battle. I do like the approach of adjusting myself for their benefit. I will definitely start putting your tips to practice. Thank you @illiett

  3. Meli, great article. Thank you for the audible book suggestions. The teen ones come in very handy for me.

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