Listen to your child.
Sometimes, kids don't pay attention because they feel like no one's paying attention to them. "Parents are often so busy themselves that they don't always focus on things they consider to be insignificant, but those may be the very things that matter most to a child," says Dr. Fick. Harry Potter may be the last person you want to discuss at the end of a rough day, but what's going on at Hogwarts could be as important to her as her unfinished homework is to you. When kids feel cared about, understood, and respected by you, they're a lot more likely to hear what you have to say.
Originally published in the April 2011 issue of Parents magazine.