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The secret to getting kids to listen is not about listening. Here’s what it is about…

Every mom struggles getting kids to listen.

It’s a universal sentiment among parents: if only our kids would listen, all our problems would be solved.

Studio 5 Parenting Contributor Heather Johnson said the issue isn’t that our children are bad listeners. The real problem is something we’re overlooking.


The Misconception About Listening

Heather explained, “Kids are not bad listeners. They’re just fine listening. It’s not that there’s a listening problem. When we make those requests, we’re not actually asking them to listen to us. We’re asking for them to comply or cooperate with us.”

Heather emphasized, “If kids aren’t listening or complying, somewhere there is a relationship problem. We want to figure out what that relationship problem is and that’s where we have to put our energy. We want to figure out what is getting in the way between the two of us.”

Asking the Right Questions

We tend to ask the wrong questions. Heather said whatever question you ask your brain will answer. If you ask, “why doesn’t my child listen?” you will find all the ways they don’t listen. So, ask questions that are more concerned with your behavior and your actions. Like, “What can I do to connect with my child today?”

Building Connection Through Undivided Attention

Every day undivided attention builds connection. Heather said that when we spend undivided time with our kids, it creates a strength between us and them. On top of that, when we give our kids undivided attention, it’s like making deposits in an emotional bank account. We give to them so when we ask for help, they’re more willing to give to us.

Giving Kids Control

Heather believes that if we want the relationship to be strong with our kids, we need to allow them more control. “Remember, the opposite of control is trust,” Heather said. When we give more control to our kids, we are showing them that we trust them. When trust exists, they will be more willing to listen.

To contact Heather for counseling, email, or visit

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