Expert Parenting Advice
Practical parenting tips and advice from experts around the world

Schrödinger's daughter

The better you become at listening to your child, the better they will become at listening to you...

In quantum mechanics, there is the famous idea of Schrödinger's cat.

The idea is that, due to how quantum mechanics is thought to work, a hypothetical cat placed in a box along with poison and a source of radioactivity can be thought of as both dead and alive at the same time.

I was thinking about this yesterday while dropping my kids off at school.

You see, just before I put my daughter in her car seat, I asked her "Do you want this jacket? It's pretty cold today."

"No, I am warm, I don't want the jacket."

So I put her in her car seat. Then my son asked for his jacket.

Hearing this, my daughter cried "I want a jacket as well, I'm cold!"

Just like Schrödinger's cat, my daughter has the ability to be both cold and warm at the same time.

I'm joking, but there is also some truth to it. The thing is, children view the world differently from adults. They have their own reality.

And when we disregard their reality, they start disregarding ours.

Anna Seewald, host of the top-rated podcast Authentic Parenting, explained this concept when I interviewed her for our book How To Get Kids To Listen:

But children are present, and they are doing their own thing. Somehow, we live in different worlds. Our time sensation is different.

Children learn to tune out quickly when we completely disregard their own reality. When we don’t see them.

So, recognize that if I’m asking too much from my child, that’s not a sign that my child doesn’t respect me or doesn’t listen to me. That’s a signal to me that I need to pause, take a break, and re-evaluate my agenda. “Am I rushing? Am I frenzied?”

Anna Seewald

According to Anna, if you want your child to listen to you, you need to first learn to listen to them. To understand how they view the world, and what they see as important.

And the way to do this is to become a better listener.

In the interview, Anna shares four practical ways that you can practice to become a better listener.

Listening is such an important skill to develop, because the better you become at listening to your child, the better they will become at listening to you. According to Anna, "when you do this regularly, your child feels seen, heard, understood, and visible."