There are few things more frustrating to a parent than when your child doesn’t listen to you. It can feel like they are being disrespectful, it can be embarrassing when done in front of others, and sometimes it can even be dangerous. If you tell your child not to run out in front of traffic or touch a hot stove, what happens when they don’t listen?
My first child was so easy. She was (and still is) sweet, she listened and wasn’t purposefully ornery. Then I had my second, a boy. He was completely opposite. Don’t get me wrong, he has his moments of sweetness: he loves snuggling and sharing kisses but he is ornery. I will admit to slacking on discipline. It’s just hard. But the slacking has resulted in disobedience and disrespect. So now, I am back to being very consistent. Ugh… will this get easier?
This is a challenge every parent faces at some time but there are things you can do about it. The first step is to try to determine the reasons why they are not listening.
Four Reasons Your Child Doesn’t Listen
- You give too many warnings/ countdowns. Do you say things like, “Wait until your dad gets home” or “Don’t make me count to three…” and then continue to give warnings and not follow through with a discipline? When you give too many repeat warnings, you are actually training them not to listen to you. He’ll learn that he doesn’t really have to listen yet, until you’ve reached a certain point.
- You get into a power struggle. Some kids are great at initiating the power struggle. They will suck you into an argument without you even realizing it and the next thing you know, you’re fighting it out to see who’s really the boss. Be aware of this so you can avoid power struggles from their source.
- You don’t follow through with your threats. Don’t give vague, over-generalized threats or threats that you know you don’t plan to follow through on. Your children will see these inconsistencies or just realize that your threats are unreasonable and then think that they don’t have to listen to you.
- You yell. Many parents raise their voices when their child is not listening but studies have shown this to actually cause your child to tune you out. So yelling just makes them not listen. Stay calm and speak to them calmly.
Which one have you noticed happening in your home?
I’ll admit, I am guilty of all four of these things at one time or another. But #3, is my biggest weakness. He has realized he can get away with bad behavior. This past month, he’s been put into a time-out and had his handheld game system taken away from him more times than I can count but he’s starting to learn I mean business. I’ve been consistently following through with my threats.
Now that you know these four reasons for why your child might not be listening to you, it’s time to do something about it. Understanding the reason is a great first step toward correcting the problem.
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