Why do children react differently to the same request from different people?

Appropriate age: Children can understand simple language, and can also use language for basic communication and expression.

There are various communication situations between adults and children. There are many reasons why children listen to or do not listen to the suggestions or requirements of adults under different ages and different situations. We cannot answer all the situations here, so we will mainly discuss two common situations.

The parent-child relationship and Family relationship status

One situation we often find is:

When one of the caregivers make one request, the child would immediately cooperate, but if another person made the same request, the child would turn a deaf ear or simply refuse, and some children even yelled.
How to communicate with children
If we observe carefully, we will find:

Children tend to be more willing to listen and cooperate with the suggestions and requirements of their main attachment objects.

Many of us adults do the same. The closer we are emotional with someone, the more we are willing to listen and consider the words of this person.

In addition, in a family, if there are more conflicts between the main caregivers or the normal relationship is very tense, it is easy for the child to stand on the side of the caregiver who is closer to him and become angry with the other caregiver.

The demands and suggestions of the other caregiver are often more easily resisted by the child.

Some children even learn to imitate the tone of one parent they like and "rebuke" the other one who is not so close to.
How to communicate with children
Usual communication mode

The same behavior that the children jumping on the sofa. Some people often use judging or imperative communication mode.

For example: "You are always disobedient! I told you not to jump on the sofa, but you always do it! Hurry down!", or "If you don’t listen to me, don’t cry when you fall down!"

This way of speaking, children will often pretend that they have not heard, or deliberately jump a few times.

There are also some parents who use threats words, such as "If you don't turn off the TV, you are not allowed to eat snacks today!"

If this mode of communication is a normal state, a large part of the interaction between parents and children is often unilateral accusations, judgments, negative labels, intimidation, etc.

Under this mode of communication, children often turn a deaf ear to parenting speech and preaching, unless the parent continuously increases the intensity of intimidation or punishment, so it is easy to enter a vicious circle.
How to communicate with children
How to communicate with children?

We all know that proper boundaries and principles are unavoidable in life, and parents also inevitably have some requirements for children. If the parent can change the way of talking to children or the way when asking the child to do something or not to do something, the effect will be very different.

First of all, try to put yourself in the child's perspective to listen to and understand their thoughts. Be sure not to put yourself on the opposite side of the child to arouse the child's inner confrontation.

Whether it is an adult or a child, it is harder to listen to each other's suggestions and reasons when there is confrontation. Because in the emotion of confrontation, we can easily fall into the invisible struggle for control.

In addition, don't just "notify" or "command" the child, but let the child understand the reason for doing so, and often the child will be more willing to cooperate on the basis of understanding.

For example, the rules of "Do not run around in the library, no shouting", we hope that children understand and abide it.

The best way is not to require the child "Don't run! Don't speak loudly", nor to threaten the child "The administrator here will arrest you if you speak loudly."

Instead to tell the child the specific reason: "A library is a place where many people read books. They need a quiet environment while reading, so everyone who comes to the library must keep quiet. If you run around here and speak loudly, others can't read the book quietly."
How to communicate with children
Finally, I would like to share my daily scene about how to communicate better with my son.

Our little son sleep in his own rooms. Even if my husband and I cover him with a quilt before going to bed,usually it doesn’t take long for him to lift it.

So I will prepare pajamas and sleeping bags of different thicknesses for him. If he wear the thick pajamas, it is not a big problem if he doesn’t wear sleeping bags or cover him the quilt at night; if he choose to wear thin pajamas, he is required to wear a thin one-piece sleeping bag with his feet outside.

This day, my little son chose to wear thin pajamas, but he said he didn't want to wear sleeping bags.

Dad: If you don't wear a sleeping bag, you have to wear thick pajamas.

Little son: No, I don’t want thick pajamas, and I don’t want to wear sleeping bags!

It was already 10 o'clock in the evening, my husband was a little anxious.

Dad: No, you can't just wear such thin pajamas, it will be cold at night!

Little son: I am not cold, I will cover the quilt!

Seeing that the two of them were in a stalemate, I squatted in front of him and said:

Mom: Do you know what you look like when you sleep at night? Let me show you a picture. (I showed her a photo saved in the phone)

Look, you were covered with a quilt before you fell asleep at night, but after you fell asleep, your little feet wanted to do some exercise, and the quilt was kicked off. (He starts to laugh)

So, if you wear thin pajamas without a sleeping bag, your mother will be miserable at night. Do you know why? (He shook her head)

Because I am worried that you will be cold at night, I need to get up to cover you with a quilt, again and again, then I will not be able to sleep well at night, is it miserable?

Little son: Mom, I don't want you to be so miserable, then I will wear a sleeping bag! But mom, can you buy me a thick pajama with this little bear on it? This way I don’t have to wear a sleeping bag, it won’t block the bear’s face...

Well, I think this requirement is very reasonable. In the end, our little son happily wore a thin sleeping bag outside of the thin pajamas. His Dad and I could rest at ease at night. 

I think: in the process of this dialogue, eliminate the confrontation, add some funny and happy elements, and then tell the child that behind the adult's request is the concern for her, and tell her the trouble that she may cause if she does not cooperate in a way that she can understand, listening and understanding her thoughts will be the good way to solve the life episode.

Don't think that children are still too young to understand anything. They have many special and logical ideas in their little heads. Enjoy this process of equal communication with children and learn how to be good with them.

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