Parenting Vivian | 31 Mar 2010 11:39 pm

Are You Over-Talking And Under-Listening?

Do you ever wonder why your children do not listen to you? One of the key reasons is that we all talk too much. Now I am not saying to stop talking to your children but rather to be intentional when we decide to talk with them. This is especially true during a power struggle, a time that parents feel particularly vulnerable. When we are challenged by our children, it is typical for us to keep talking and talking — what I have termed here as over-talking.

When we are over-talking, we are not listening to our child. This under-listening means we are out of touch with them and we are not making progress toward resolving the conflict at hand.

The following exercise is intended to give you an indication of the extent to which you might be engaging in this pattern. This is in no way meant to be critical but instead to help you figure out if this is a problem to be worked on. All of us tend to do this with our children. In fact, some of the time it is not an unhealthy pattern. However, if an unhealthy pattern of over-talking has developed, you may want to seek help to make things better.

If you check more than four of the reasons below, please consider seeing a family therapist to give you support and prevent the development of unhealthy patterns with your children. Remember, you deserve to feel better and have a loving relationship with your child.

Each of the following examples is followed by how it may backfire in a conflict with your child. The statements are not all good or all bad. While you may have valid reasons for excessive talking, if it backfires the over-talking may not be worth the consequences.


__________ I am teaching my child a lesson. (If they are not listening, they are not learning — they over-talk too.)

__________ I need to make my point. (Children can debate, often better, and they frequently enjoy arguing.)

__________ I don’t feel my child hears me so I repeat it. (They hear — they are just thinking about how to respond defensively.)

__________ My parents did not explain to me. (Explaining one time is helpful, more than once fuels the fire.)

__________ I want my child to understand me. (If they are arguing, they are not listening and will not understand.)

__________ I over-talk when I am anxious. (This won’t help your anxiety. Less talk will help you calm down and get control.)

__________ I feel on the spot and defensive. (You are in a power struggle and your child will usually win in some way.)

__________ I get angry and try to over-talk. (Your child is also angry and it will only get worse. Stop talking.)

__________ I feel they will out talk me if I don’t keep talking. (Children know how to out talk you. More talking escalates their talking.)

Written by Carol Smith, Parent, Teacher and Friend — You are invited to check out the variety of helpful articles intended to help you develop balance in your family. Come join my internet family at:

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