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How to stop your child's brain from shutting down when you speak to them

Why how you feel when you talk to your kids is so important for getting them to cooperate.

"It's time for bed!" I call to my 6-year-old son.

No response.

"Come now, it's time for bed!" I repeat.

No response. But I hear the BEEP-BOOP-AAAP sound of his handheld game.

Now I am angry. "Why is he not listening to me!"

I march up to the living room, and repeat "It is time for bed."

But he still ignores me!

Now, when my kids flat-out ignore me, I get super angry. If I was a cartoon character, steam would be coming out of my ears.

But tonight, something is different.

You see, over the weekend I started editing my interview with Shirley Pastiroff, a therapist and author of The Mindful Parent: How to Stay Sane, Stay Calm and Stay Connected to Your Kids.

In our interview, I asked Shirley my favorite question - how can I get my kids to listen better?

And Shirley explained something very interesting: instead of focusing all your attention on your kids that aren't listening, rather focus on yourself and your emotions.

The thing is, when you speak with a high-stress, high-adrenaline voice to your kids, their ability to listen starts to shut down. In fact, the audio pathways in their brain, responsible for processing what they hear, actually close down, making it very difficult for them to listen to you.

This means that the more frustrated or stressed you are, the more difficult it becomes for your kids to listen to you.

Of course, that also means that the more relaxed you can be, the easier it becomes for your kids to cooperate.

According to Shirley, when you've got good hormones, like serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine running through your body, your child's brain stays open to you, because the connection feels safe. They feel like they are on your team, and it becomes much easier for them to cooperate.

The next question is, naturally, how do you do that? How do you stay calm and collected when your kid ignores you flat out and just plays his stupid handheld console when he should be getting ready for bed after you've told him a thousand times!

In my interview with Shirley Pastiroff, she shares three techniques that you can practice to keep calm when your kids upset you.

Tonight, when my son didn't want to go to bed, I tried her A.L.L. technique, and it worked wonderfully.

Instead of taking out my frustrations on my son, shouting or getting angry at him, I calmed down and decided to walk away for a few minutes.

When I came back, he was finished with his game, and ready for bed. No yelling!

Sooo much better than the alternative.

If you struggle with getting angry at your kids and letting your emotions take over, then check out the full interview with Shirley Pastiroff, in our ebook How To Get Kids To Listen, available for free download here.