Ever get frustrated that your kids won’t listen or take you seriously?
Sometimes you’re just too tired to stay consistent and follow through with consequences. You end up saying, “No, don’t do that” to your kids several times—but they do it anyway! Then you feel as though you have to be louder and meaner to get them to listen.
In this episode, Carol & Anne talk about why it can be challenging for parents to follow through and the desperation that comes from a lack of consequences. You’ll learn simple, helpful tips that you can start applying today to create a more harmonious home.
This episode’s Parenting Practice
Look at the parts of your life where you may have gotten yourself into a parenting rut due to a lack of follow-through and desperate threats. What are the common situations in your family where your kids push boundaries? Consider the natural cause and effect consequences you could enforce without yelling or arguing. It’s possible to have impeccable follow-through, true to your Type.
Transcript of podcast episode
Carol: And they’re not made up in the moment because you’re tired or worn out. It’s not like, “If you don’t stop doing that, you’re not going on vacation with us.” That’s unreasonable. That’s not going to happen, and you’re desperate. It’s not a desperate consequence in the moment because you’re desperate.
Welcome to “The Child Whisperer” podcast. I’m your host, Carol Tuttle, author of the bestselling parenting book, “The Child Whisperer.” I’m with my co-host, Anne Tuttle Brown.
Anne: I’m a Type 1 one mom of three kids, Type 1, Type 4, and Type 3. I find it hard to parent these children while still staying true to my Type 1 nature, especially with my Type 4/3 son. In order to be seen as the person of authority, I have to rely a lot on my secondary type four, but I end up so exhausted by the end of the day for obvious reasons. It’s more work for me, and I resent being the mother sometimes because it’s just not fun. So, what I’m wondering is, how to stay true to my primary type one energy and find the fun in motherhood while still being the adult in charge. I’ve heard this a lot from Type 1 moms.
Carol: I observe it. I have a type one daughter with a type four and type three son, that have required her to… The biggest issue is when you’re in your Type 1 energy, your energy is…it creates connect-disconnect. Okay. That pattern of movement creates consistent, inconsistent, so you’re not consistent when you’re in your Type 1 Energy. And your children that have these very definitive energies, they’re substantial, they’re analytical, they’re straight forward…
Anne: Straight forward.
Carol: That inconsistency is interpreted by them as, “I can’t take you seriously. I can’t respect you. And you’re probably not going to follow through. So, why would I bother?” And so you’ve taught them.
Anne: Yeah, so it’s like if you can you tell me something to do because you’re the adult in charge, why do I need to listen to you? Because the last time you told me that, nothing happened and I’m fine.
Carol: Or you don’t follow through on things, and I can’t rely on you.
Anne: I experience this to a degree. I mean, you’re a type three mom. I had a type two dad, but just this experience of no follow through, I would often come home late in high school, you know, past my curfew and dad would say, “You’re going to get in trouble.” Nothing would happen. So, the next weekend…
Carol: But that was him. I figured consequences would play out, and you’d be tired. And you might want to go to bed earlier. So that was your father, not me.
Anne: Next weekend would roll around and I would… “I’m not calling my parents. I’m just coming home when I want to, and nothing is going to happen.” You know, my brother would get more at mad at me than anyone else because he’s like, “Why are you getting away with this?” But, yes, I relate to that. If there’s no follow-through then like I don’t see the point.
Carol: There’s no authority. There’s no authority.
Anne: Yeah, there’s no authority.
Carol: So, you’re saying in the question when you’re in your… you’re not able, you have to go to the secondary type four because…consider this a possibility, that’s when they take you seriously. Because you’re not…
Anne: I think she recognizes that, but it’s so draining for her.
Carol: Right. So, today’s conversation is about how to stay true to your Type and be seen as the authority. And there’s really one simple answer and it will be easier for some types other than others, that it’s follow-through. It doesn’t mean a sterner voice. It doesn’t mean getting louder. It doesn’t mean changing who you are. It means it is a cause and effect approach to parenting. This choice creates this consequence. Yeah. We follow through every time on the consequence.
Anne: You know, as I’m thinking of some of the mothers that I really admire in just like in my neighborhood, in my life, my friends and things, they have larger families and, honestly, their kids are just so well-behaved, and I think it goes back to that follow through.
Carol: Yeah, be consistent.
Anne: Like they know where their parents lie, they know the clear rules and boundaries and they’re loving families. Yeah. They don’t have like this, you know parent that’s this big authority figure that’s yelling at them all the time. They just know the boundaries and they’re very clear.
Carol: They’re not unreasonable either. Yeah. And there’s not an overwhelming amount of them that’s catering to a certain parents type preferences.
Anne: Yes, that’s a good insight.
Carol: It’s like…well, you know, I will see on The Child Whisperer Facebook page and the group really reasonable strategies when it comes to, we expect this, and we have this as a consequence. And they’re reasonable expectations with reasonable consequences that everybody is informed, and they’re not made up in the moment because you’re tired or worn out. It’s not like, “if you don’t stop doing that, you’re not going on vacation with us.” That’s unreasonable. That’s not going to happen and you’re desperate. It’s not a desperate consequence in the moment because you’re desperate.
They’re thought out and the children are informed and the family operates by a cause and effect system, which is the world in which we live. You go without sleep, the side effect of that is you’re tired more often. See, there’s just a natural sequence to cause and effect. So, you have to establish some of your own cause and effect, and then make sure you follow through. Now, you had an experience you were telling me about with Katie, and you hadn’t thought about what I’ve helped you realize.
Anne: I wasn’t following through. Yeah. I hadn’t thought there were two layers to this. You kept surprising me. The other day we came home from church, and I like to do quiet time after we… just to, kind of, everyone goes into their room. You can do your own thing. Just a really nice peaceful way to relax as a family. So, Sam, my Type 2, the three-year-old, was in his room and Katie was in her room and I think it was about 30 minutes into it and Katie was, you know, ready to be done. And I was in my room doing some things. She came in, “Okay, mom, I’m done. I’m going to get Sam out of his room now and go downstairs.” And I said, “No, you’re not.” “Yes, I am.” And I wasn’t following through.
Carol: Were you yelling at each other over the hallway?
Anne: No, no. I mean, she was at my door.
Carol: No, but were you in the same room talking or in different places in the room calling out to each other?
Anne: No. She was true to her nature moving forward while she was talking to me. And I was cozy in my bed, and I didn’t want to get up and have to stop her physically. I was just like, “No, you won’t. Don’t do that. Don’t do that. You’ll have to go in timeout.” I didn’t want to get up because I was enjoying my comfortable space.
Carol: Quiet time. You were having quiet time, and your type three child was disrupting it.
Anne: And so finally, I went and got her and said, “You need to come and sit in my closet.”
Carol: Say how you said it.
Anne: “No, you won’t.” “Yes, I will. Okay, thanks. I’m going to go get him.” “No, you’re not. Stop. No, you’re not.” “Yes, I am. Okay.” And then that’s so annoying to me. I’m like just listen to me, but you made it really clear what I was doing.
Carol: Yeah, I said… We just taught this in a previous podcast. She said, one of the things you just need to find an alternative for if you say, “no, you’re not” to a Type 3.
Anne: Yeah. Well, you said, no. You still said…
Carol: You said, no. And she’s like, “Oh yeah.” And I said, “Well, why didn’t you just say in your very firm yet soft way, “If you choose to do that, this is the consequence.” It’s still her choice. And then if she knew that you are impeccable about your consequences, she knows that’s going to be the case, and she has to decide in that moment, what’s more important to me? And if you have a list of consequences that are reasonable and that you know are effective with your child. Okay. You have done this before though, which consequences have worked?
Anne: I could say, okay. When it comes to going to bed she, you know, wants to get out of her bed. And I actually, I see when I am more consistent with the follow-through, and there’s sometimes where I’m less consistent, she knows how far she can push. And so she was kind of lingering, getting in her bed and I said, “Get in your bed.” And she, “No, don’t leave me,” you know, wanted to get out and spend more time with me. Last time I said, “Katie, get in your bed. If you don’t stay in your bed, turning off the light and shutting the door.” And so I’m very consistent on that … Well, no, I’m not.
Carol: And she does.
Anne: I don’t know why I am not sometimes. Sometimes I feel like I’m going to be like a jerk and be like, oh, then I’ll have to deal with them crying and stuff. So, like this is a good podcast for me because I need that follow-through, impeccable follow-through. And it’s like I need to bring it down.
Carol: Well, you thought you had to get louder and more stern in your voice tone.
Anne: Yes, I do. I often feel that Katie, listen, now.
Carol: And I said, well, you want the consequence to be what does the job, not your voice tone, not how you say it.
Anne: Not how I say it.
Carol: Because, Tony, my son-in-law, he’s my like constant go-to for impeccable follow-through as a dad, always. His consistency is just a role model.
Anne: Well, his Type 4 mind, why would I say it if I’m not going to do it?
Carol: He never gets loud. He never changes his voice tone. I’ve never heard him speak in an angry way to his kids. He probably has, but I’m not around him all that much. But he’s consistent with being firm, clear and, you know, the… He’ll even say to them, “You know that doesn’t work, and you know the consequence for this.” He’ll even have them repeat it. He’ll have them repeat consequence.
Anne: That’s a relief to me because when I do feel like I have to get stern and louder, it’s exhausting.
Carol: That’s what throwing you.
Anne: Just like this mom says. I end up getting so exhausted by the end of the day. This Type 1 pulling on her Type 4. If I’m a Type 2 trying to pull on whatever, you know, Type I can to get louder, or more intense, and be taken more seriously. It comes a lot more naturally for my husband. Like they listen to their dad better than they listen to me.
Carol: He doesn’t get louder. I mean, he’s…
Anne: Yes. He has better follow-through, I guess. I don’t know. I’d be like, “I’m going to call your dad if you keep doing this,” and that’s the best follow-through. That’s when I get her to listen to me.
Carol: Because they know he… Well, you need to mimic him, then, on your follow-through.
Anne: But then, in my mind, it’s like, “Oh, I have to be more Type 3…”
Carol: No. You can be Type 2, but just follow through.
Anne: Follow through. So, give some examples. How can we do this?
Carol: But you have to have the consequences laid out, it’s when you’re put on the spot that’s going to be awkward.
Anne: That’s what throws me. I’m like scrambling.
Carol: It could be one of the consequences just because, for whatever reason, you need to obey your mother right now and trust the fact that that’s not used a lot. That right now, you need to obey your mom and the consequence for not doing that… See, that needs to be your overall ticket one.
Carol: Now if you use that for everything, it’s kind of like, “Well, I never have any say. I just do what my mother says.” But in moments where you just can’t have this conversation and you’ve got to deal with a situation at hand, there’s a big, it’s just the overriding one that says, “When you don’t obey your parents, here’s the consequence.” You have to come up with the consequence.
Anne: Time to take a short break, but don’t worry, we’ll be right back after this.
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Anne: You know, this would be a good meeting for me and my husband be like, what are the things? You know, bedtime.
Carol: Where do you see the most push back too, and the most resistance, and the most hesitation?
Anne: So, I can think of like three right now. With bedtime, getting out of bed. The next one would be she’s wanting to move forward on a project, and I’m just not ready to go there yet. And then another one would be to just disobeying the boundaries or the rules that we’ve set up for like quiet time for example.
Carol: Well, yeah, and she’s old enough to talk to her and say, “We’ve noticed we have conflicts with these scenarios.”
Anne: Yeah. Maybe you can just look at a scenario with each child or as a family unit like, okay we’ve got, you know, five areas where we…you can just get really solid on the cause and effect with those and so as a parent you just know where you’re going.
Carol: Keep it simple. If you’re trying to come up with consequences in the moment, which a type one mom would be more apt to do, spur of the moment, you know, and not have thought this through beforehand to have reliable strategies to call upon, you’re most likely not going to follow through because they have not been established as well known cause and effect strategies. I think the key is to have fewer but well-honored.
Anne: And they don’t have to be dramatic.
Anne: Like one example is my husband…Katie always likes to get a snack before she goes to bed, and she wasn’t helping clean up or something and he said, “If you don’t help clean up, you won’t get your bedtime snack.” Boom! That got her right into action.
Carol: That was very motiv- She really enjoys her bedtime snack. She gets to go get it on her own. She’s very independent with that.
Anne: And there are natural things, you know, where rather than me having the consequence, like this morning I was like, it was time for her to leave for school and I said, she wanted to do a few more things. I said, “Okay, then you run the risk of being late for school like that’s in your hands.”
She was [inaudible 00:12:53] you know, they walk to school, she was riding her bike. And so she made the choice to hurry up and get out of the door. And so it doesn’t always have to land on you as a parent to be the bad guy like point out natural consequences that are happening. And I think you’re supporting your child in learning that that’s how it is.
Carol: And don’t play on extremes like, “We’re leaving for Disneyland tomorrow.” So, you could have pulled that out of the, you know the bowl of options and go, “If you don’t go back to your room right now, we’re not going to Disneyland.” That’s extreme.
Anne: Yeah, that’s not going to happen. Okay, let’s bring you down. If you don’t go to your room now…
Carol: You’re trying to now get your…you’re really, you’re home.
Anne: What’s something that I really could follow through on that, I won’t let you get a special treat for the airplane ride or something. That’s bringing it way down.
Carol: Yeah. And that’s just desperate moves at that point. You’re not riding splash mountain. No. Those are tough consequences. That messes your world up. You’re like, “Why do you want that consequence?” So, it’s not even that the…
Anne: That’s true. And can’t just say to a child, like, “Just don’t do that.” I was at my Type 1 friend’s house and her son before dinner came and grabbed a few cookies and she said, “Don’t eat those cookies.” And he just looked at her and walked away like…
Carol: And ate them. Did she do anything?
Anne: No, she’s kind of was like… And maybe it was the pressure of being around everybody else, but very simply it could have been changed. If you eat these cookies now, you won’t have…
Carol: Well, that’s an example of, you know, my parent doesn’t mean what they’re saying. There’s no value in what they’re saying. I can completely ignore them. So, that’s really the parenting practices. Have you kind of got yourself in a parenting rut by a lack of follow through and too spontaneous of desperate consequences and using voice tone and different energies to exert your will so that they’ll obey you. You know, we’ve got podcasts on are you a yeller? Or maybe it’s a blog post, that parents resort to yelling to get their children to follow through and obey them.
So, how do you be seen as the authority? Stay true to your type and have really well-established cause and effect in your household. There’s a consequence for that. And your children know what those are and they know you mean it when you remind them of this is what will happen if you choose that. And you know it will. I mean, I’ve seen Tony so many times say, “You know, that won’t work and you know what’s coming if you keep it up.” They make the…
Anne: Impeccable follow-through. That’s going to be running through my mind. Impeccable follow-through. I can do this.
Carol: Yeah. You really dealing with behavior modification.
Anne: But sometimes you’re just tired and you’re like, “I don’t want to follow through. Just listen to me.”
Carol: Well, what are you going to exert more energy to, the battle versus the delivering the consequence reminder?
Anne: Yeah. And I think you have a really good point where it doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it simple and it will just become repetitive and your children will know [inaudible 00:15:37].
Carol: Yeah. And give yourself the wildcard when you need it and say, and your children are well informed to the fact of this is a you need to obey your mom right now. Or you just need to obey dad and there’s a consequence for not choosing into that.
Anne: What it is? I don’t know yet, but just listen to me.
Carol: No, no. There needs to be an established consequence for that. I don’t know what you’ll going to come up with, but I’m just saying you need to give yourself that option because of the variables playing out. Your child is tired; you’re tired. You don’t want to deal with it all.
You just need to get it corrected in the moment. So, that one you don’t play a lot but you’ve got to have… I think that’s…you’re the parent. That’s the thing that people misunderstand. If they have a typical misunderstanding of The Child Whisperer is that we’re saying, “Hey, it’s a free for all. Let children do whatever they want.” I’m like, no, parents are the authority of their household, but they’re guides and they’re teachers and they’re influencers rather than authoritative…
Carol: Demeaning, demanding people, that there’s a cooperative approach in their parenting that honors a child. But you also stand your ground when you need to because you just need to. You’re smarter than your child children, hopefully.
Anne: Well, with the Child Whisperer behind you, you definitely are.
Carol: Yes. And your children, they’d rather respect you than not, quite honestly.
Anne: Children, they thrive with consistency and follow-through. So, this is actually [crosstalk 00:17:04]
Carol: Your daughter respects you. When you deliver the consequence, she respected that and you don’t have to get all in her face and firm.
Anne: No. I probably think I have to more than I do.
Carol: Back to that story we told you where she kept goading you constantly in the car trying to push, push, push and you just kept let her go. And I’m like, you should have pulled over and stopped the car, taken her… I mean, that’s going to send a big message like, “We’re done. And I’ve said what I’ve said and if you keep it up, this is…” So, you need for a type three child a consequence for their…they don’t stop pushing.
Anne: Oh, it happens a lot.
Carol: So, it’s like, “Hey, if you…” So, each child, what is their true to their nature, their pattern, figure that out where it’s being used now in an unfavorable manner and there needs to be a consequence for that. So, that could be another podcast of, “What does each type do that you need a consequence for?”
Anne: I’ll write that down. So consistent follow-through and you will build that trust and become the authority in your family. And it can be comfortable, true to your Type.
Carol: Thanks for listening. For more support, go to thechildwhisperer.com where you can purchase the book, subscribe to our weekly Parenting Practice email, and find a transcription and audio of “The Child Whisperer” podcast.
Anne: If you’re listening on iTunes, thank you for leaving your review. If you have a parenting question, please send it to [email protected].