Posted in Children not listening to instructions

My Children just will not listen to me!

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 16 March 2016

Following are some tips to help you when your children just won't listen to your instructions

Give your instructions simply

To get children to tune into what you have to say we need to follow the advice of successful advertisers. You've only got a few seconds say the headline only. Coca-Cola doesn't say, we think you'll like Coca-Cola, it is black and fizzy, it was developed by scientists in Germany for medicinal purposes etc. etc. They say: Coca-Cola is the best drink, buy it now!
When a child is misbehaving you're lucky to get their attention at all, so don't push it by trying to explain WHY they have to change what they are doing. They won't be listening. You will be wasting oxygen and words. Teaching, or filling in the 'why' is for later when everyone is calm and not misbehaving.

Give instructions once only

Giving instructions once, is about being assertive and in charge, repeating yourself actually puts the child in charge. It tells them that you have got nothing else but to keep repeating yourself.

Give instructions clearly

Giving the instruction clearly is about telling the child what you want them to do. We often tell children what we don't want them to do, which is too abstract for a child who is misbehaving.
Children change their behaviour more easily through replacement not erasure. It is too much to expect them to just stop behaviour without giving them something to replace it with.
E.g. Instead of, "Stop running in the house!!" say, "Sam, walk in the house. Thank-you."

Remember: Say thank-you at the end of the instruction, not please or 'O.K?'  Saying thank you is polite and sends the message that you expect it to happen. It stops you from raising your voice at the end, which changes your clear directive into a question. Children are clever, if you ask them a question they know they have the right to answer either way!

Posted in: being assertive Saying no to children in charge Children not listening to instructions parenting tips defiance getting along  

What to do when you hear "I'm bored!"

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 13 January 2015
It is very easy to fall into the trap of feeling as though you need to try to think of solutions or become 'the entertainment' for your children when you inadvertently hear the dreaded phrase, 'I'm bored' or worse, experience what they actually start getting up to when boredom sets in, the fights, the mess, the frustration. Following are some ideas to help you with your bored children that are designed to stop you getting sucked into coming up with endless ideas, or spending buckets of cash keeping them entertained.

Some ideas to help:

1. Computers, video games and T.V are great, they can be educational and can teach hand-eye co-ordination, but there is a down side. They are actually passive activities that limit creativity. Have you noticed your children will misbehave straight after they finish watching TV or playing on the computer? This is often because their brains are having trouble transitioning from passive to active. They might not be bored; their brain just needs a re-boot. Get your children into the routine of jumping on the trampoline, running around the yard, doing star jumps etc for a few minutes after a passive activity. They will be more likely to be able to think of something to do themselves then.

2. In the mornings or at the beginning of each week, brainstorm activities together that they can do when they are bored. Get them to write a list or draw pictures illustrating the ideas. When they come to you to say they are bored, get them to check the list and choose something from there.

3. Listen, and acknowledge that you have heard what they are saying, without trying to fix it for them. Say, 'I'm sorry that you are bored. Let me know what you come up with to do.' Or ' I understand that, I feel bored sometimes myself.

4. Give them choices, such as, 'You can continue to be bored or find something to do.'

5. Say that you would be very happy to show them how to vacuum, clean the car, wipe the ledges etc. Maybe they will want to, or maybe they will get as far away as possible and find something much more attractive to do.

6. Be realistic, nobody is suggesting that children should be left to their own devices the entire holidays, have a routine, one that balances:

Time for household jobs
Time for spending with you when you need to get things done, such as grocery shopping
Time for playing together (spending quality time)
Time for organized activities/ time with friends that they can become engaged in
Time to be independent (but not Bored!).

Posted in: Saying no to children Children not listening to instructions parenting tips dealing with disappointments activities for kids what to do with bored children grumpy children getting along  

Are you letting your children your children run feral? Michael Carr-Gregg thinks so!

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 20 October 2014

Wowww! I personally have a lot of respect for Michael Carr Gregg. I always think his solutions to parent’s dilemmas are very practical, sensible and effective. That is why I was VERY surprised to read this report. It sounds like he has just had enough! I have added some ideas to help you say no at the end.

Following is a report written by Sarah Sedghi
A prominent Australian psychologist has warned Australia is currently raising a generation of spoilt brats, because their parents are "crap" and "never say no".
Dr Michael Carr-Gregg believes today's parents have a lot to answer for, and there may be serious long-term consequences for Australia.
Dr Carr-Gregg attributes the rise of poorly-behaved children to five major parenting problems.

"The first [problem] is that there are too many parents being doormats for their kids. They have got what I call a vitamin N deficiency, which is a failure to say no.
"It's incredibly important that parents set limits and boundaries and I don't know that that's happening at the moment."
Dr Carr-Gregg identified the "helicopter parent" as another "model of crap parenting" he was targeting in his work.
"The high-strung, control-freak parents that want to smother their kids with so much love and attention and monitoring and supervision that they never, ever develop any self-reliance and can't solve their own problems later on."


The Australian psychologist said he has seen ample evidence of the consequences to these types of parenting, not just in his own clinic but in schools around Australia.
The short-term consequences you can see in restaurants, waiting rooms and airports, these kids who are just completely feral, running out of control.
"We've had people moving to these artificial villages called cities, primarily to get jobs and in doing so, a lot of the kinship networks have been destroyed.
"A lot of the wisdom around parenting, which was derived from grandparents, for example, has no longer been so readily available."
The consequences of bad parenting has both short- and long-term effects, warned Dr Carr-Gregg.
"The short-term consequences you can see in restaurants and in waiting rooms and in airports throughout Australia, where you have these kids who are just completely feral, running out of control.
"Parents don't do anything about it because they're frightened of being seen as bad parents or frightened to say no."
Dr Carr-Gregg said this style of parenting has major effects on the mental health of children and adolescents as they grow up.
"Long-term, I think what we're doing is infantilising a lot of children into incompetence."


I think, from speaking to the parents that I work with that the real difficulty is to KEEP saying no. I would like to outline a couple of reasons why it is so important to  persevere:

1. Children feel safe and supported when strong and fair boundaries are in place.
I always say to parents, imagine  being 2 or 4 or 6 or even 12 knowing that you always get to make the decisions and that you are in charge. It would be a bit scary wouldn’t i? When children feel safe, knowing that a strong and fair adult is in charge, they can learn more, do more and are far more likely to develop at an age appropriate rate.

2. Saying no to your children will not harm their self-esteem.
In fact, research suggests that children with more freedom  have lower self-esteem,  whereas the clearer the rules and limits set by parents the higher the child’s self esteem. Remember self esteem = feeling good + doing well. NOT just feeling good. Expect your child to follow your rules and meet your expectations and surprisingly, they will actually feel better about themselves!

What to do: Start small. Ask yourself some questions. What do you think your child needs to learn right now? What boundaries do you need to put in place to help them learn this?  Make this the area where you can be firm.

3. If  you feel as if you are saying no to everything, try this:. Find a way to ‘yes’
On many occasions, children ask us for something, and we want to say no. Try using if …. then or when ….. then statements instead. For example, your child may ask, “May I watch T.V?”  Instead of saying no, you can reply, “When you finish your homework….. then you may watch T.V.”

I hope you fing these ideas helpful as you continue to take a stand and say no.

Posted in: being assertive Michael Carr - Gregg Saying no to children Children not listening to instructions parenting tips  

Are your children STILL not listening to you?

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 15 July 2013

This week we’re going to get straight to the solution.

Think of when you are misbehaving. Are you really in the best frame of mind to listen to people telling you what you should be doing and why you should be doing it? No? Well, children are the same. To get children to change their behaviour, we have to stop telling and start acting.


  Remember: Just telling (and telling again) is no more than a wish or a nag

What you can do:

1. Tell your child what you do expect from them, when everyone is calm.
If you do this during the misbehaviour no-one will be listening. You will be wasting oxygen and words.
2. State the consequences clearly, that means: what will happen if the child does, and does not do, what you require.
Remember, having a positive consequence in place is much more motivating for a child to do what is expected. Setting the consequences during calm times will help you remember to do this.
E.g. After making yourself a snack, you need to clean up after yourself. If you do, you can have your favourite snack twice in a week. If you don’t, then you can only choose a piece of fruit from the bowl or have nothing.

Some important points:

1. Don’t expect your child to like the new expectation. They sometimes require children to make an effort in an area where they are not used to.

2. Write it down or draw it – so everyone can be reminded.
3.  Remind them, just before you expect them to follow it. This will remind them of the plan and make it easier for them to succeed.
4. If they still chose not to follow your expectation, you don’t have to lecture, just remind them of the negative consequence that you agreed upon.
5. FOLLOW THROUGH - ensure the consequence is experienced whether it is positive or negative.  This is not easy. It’s important to stay positive and not criticize or blame the child for not following the standard – just give the consequence that you have already discussed.

6. Make the consequences relate – consequences work best if they are linked to the behaviour (for example, not brushing your teeth means no sweets, as opposed to missing time on the computer).

7. Do not bluff – you must do what you say. Don’t let no mean – “not yet, pester me and I’ll say yes.”

Dealing with misbehaviour while it is happening is extremely difficult, very stressful, and often doesn't produce the results that you are hoping for. Working within a system, and knowing how to use consequences so that they actually work for you, helps you come up with solutions to reduce misbehaviour that has become stressful.

Posted in: being assertive in charge Children not listening to instructions  

Last Chance to attend Smart Parenting Classes for 2013

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 5 July 2013

Learn simple, easily applied and practical techniques that reduce behaviours causing frustration, anxiety, stress and irritation.

Making family life work can be pretty complicated these days because our lives are moving so much faster now. Every parent experiences upheavals, sleepless nights and behavioural challenges with their children. Feelings of frustration, powerlessness, stress, anxiety and guilt are common to all parents who are trying their best to raise their children.

PEPA Smart Parenting allows you to take the positive steps necessary to assist your family to grow and develop together with confidence and understanding. Children whose parents know and use the  PEPA Smart Parenting techniques, have fewer behaviour problems, are more resilient, get along better with friends, do better academically and can even have better physical health.


PEPA Smart Parenting Group Classes

Classes are structured, interactive, practical and fun. They run over 3 consecutive weeks so that you will have the opportunity to practise at home between classes. (click the heading for more info)


Essentials of Discipline - How Children are like Hair: what you can do to manage yours, yet still allow it to be healthy and bouncy
Nurture resilient, responsible and happy children



Crucial Communication for Co-operation and Calm: what is soft is strong
Build and maintain relationships that mean your children are more likely to listen to and respond to what you say


Simple Steps to Solutions to Stressful Situations
You can be effective in turning misbehaviour into positive behaviour


For more information go to or please feel free to contact me directly.

Warm Regards,



Posted in: being assertive in charge Children not listening to instructions parenting tips parenting classes getting along  
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