How Can I Get My Child To Listen to Me? – Proximity Insider Tip #1

Lisa M. Navarra is a Long Island based, certified educational and behavioral specialist.



“If non verbal communication could speak, it would be very loud!” – Lisa Navarra

In the last publication, we have discussed why setting limits are important, when to set limits and how to verbally set limits with your child, it is now time to add the essential “insider tips” to maximize your delivery and get your child to listen to you!

Article: How Can I Get My Child to Listen to Me? —> Read here

“Insider Tip” #1- Proximity:

Proximity is the distance between two people. To help encourage your child to listen to what you are saying, you should be aware of how close in proximity you are in relation to your child. If you give your child a choice from across the kitchen as he is watching t.v. odds are you will be ignored. Walk over to your child and establish eye contact with him. If your child is sitting, sit next to him, if he is standing, stand in front of him. In each scenario, your distance should be approximately 1 ½-3 feet away. If your proximity is too close your child will feel his boundaries are being imposed on. This may make him feel pressured and act defensively. If your proximity is too distant, he will not feel the importance of what you are saying. Be aware of where your hands are, at your sides are the best place. It will prevent you from crossing your arms or pointing your finger at your child. Each will instantly change the meaning behind your limit. He will feel like you’re angry and are punishing him. This can cause resentment and he’s likely to lash out at you.


Now that you are in close proximity of your child while you are looking at him give your positive then negative style or positive and positive style choice in a firm and fair voice. If you have an extremely oppositional child give your choice, pause which allows your child to think about what you said and it shows your child that you are serious. It also shows your child that you are aware that he has heard you. Pause means pause. Don’t wait for a response or give your child a chance to try and argue for a re-negotiation. However, after you have set your limit end by saying, “I’ll give you a moment to think about it. You can either let me know or I’ll ask you.” Now, walk away! And seem slightly pre-occupied with another task. Your child will not feel stared down and you will seem more approachable.


If a moment passes and your child has not told (or showed) you his decision make it for him by telling him and following through. For example, if your child sat on the couch to watch t.v. instead of doing his homework, you may set the limit by a positive then negative limit setting style. You may say, “It’s time to start your homework so you’ll have time to watch t.v. after dinner.” If your child doesn’t budge state you’ll give him a moment to turn off the t.v. or you will turn it off. A positive and positive limit setting style can be stated, “You can hand me the remote and I’ll DVR it for you or I can turn the t.v. off for you.” If you don’t get a positive response right away you can either say, “Ok, I see you need some help deciding” and you make the choice. However, if you think your child is capable of making the responsible choice and just needs some encouragement, then you can give him that “moment” to think.


Setting structure, boundaries and rules are an act of Love and Respect. Empower yourself to empower your child! Your child will love you for it!

Founded by Lisa : Child behavior Consulting, LLC is a New York based educational consulting company, specializing in the assessment of children and young adults in need of behavior modification.

This article is about Lisa’s “Insider Tip” #1 for effective communication. Hopefully, you have gained insight on how non verbal communication can help you deliver a message with maximum potential to your child and those around you. To learn more, Lisa Navarra offers Support Groups and presentations focused on empowering the parent, school staff/faculty and safety personnel. With over 19 years of experience Lisa is the Founder/Owner of Child Behavior Consulting, LLC. For more insider tips and information, log onto or contact Lisa at FB: Child Behavior Consulting




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My name is Anne and I am a local mommy blogger ... Momee Friends is all about Long Island and all things local with the focus on family

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