Children can be very disobedient and annoying at times. They will act up and refuse to listen to you many times. Most times, we are tempted to lash out and act in the moment—in anger—however, it is best to remain patient and calm in such situations. If your child is entirely disregarding what you’re saying, it can be impossible to discern whether he or she is listening to what you’re saying at all. You should try to discover what you are doing that makes your child refuse to listen to you, and what you can do to make things better. Let’s check out some reasons your child does not listen to you:
1. Your expressions and instructions are too complicated
Maintaining simplicity and adhering to one or two core themes when speaking with children is the best approach when it comes to communicating with them effectively. Making a list of things for your child to remember can make it difficult for them to keep track of everything they’re expected to do. For example, listing off multiple chores you want them to complete or reminding them to complete a number of tasks in order to be ready for school can make it difficult for a youngster to keep track of everything they’re expected to do and remember. Additionally, using many big words and digging into a lengthy explanation about something, such as why you punished her for doing something wrong, can dilute the overall message. The ability to communicate succinctly and clearly is particularly important when dealing with younger children and to have them listen to you, who have shorter attention spans than older children.
2. It’s possible that your child’s attention has been drawn to something else
A lot of the time, children are so concerned with what they’re doing, whether it’s watching a favorite show or movie or building with Legos, that they can’t hear what you’re saying. Because kids, just like adults, are capable of becoming entirely absorbed in anything, when they don’t listen, it’s less about them being disobedient and more about them being completely absorbed in something else.
Focus on the good aspects of the situation (they are strengthening their capacity to concentrate) and ask your child for her undivided attention by approaching her and conversing with her face to face, imitating the school process. To ensure that your child completes the task you have set for them, give them some time to transition from the activity they are currently involved in.
3. You yell without consideration
Sometimes it happens you’re preoccupied with dinner preparations and you want to remind your child to finish his homework, so you yell at him from across the room or across the entire house, which is completely unacceptable. Instead, if at all possible, try to get into the habit of going to the child and speaking with them in person whenever the occasion presents itself. The fact that you are paying complete attention to your child when you make a request improves the likelihood that they will comply by orders of magnitude when you make the request.
4. You are an extreme ‘beggar’ or a ‘military sergeant’
Different parents use different strategies to train their children. Some go to the extremes: drill sergeant (“Pick up those toys right now!!!”) or beggar (“Please, please, please, can’t you pick up your toys?”) mode. Both of these scenarios are highly likely to end in the same consequence over time: children who do not follow the adult’s directions. It is important to request things in a polite but firm manner. When dealing with your child, you must strike a precise balance between commanding and begging.
5. You Have a Lack of Consistency in Your Behavior
Your child will learn to ignore you if you repeatedly tell him to pick up his toys and then don’t follow through with repercussions when he doesn’t. This is a very valid point. If you promise to do something, make sure to do it. By doing so, your child understands that you are always serious about your plans.
Sometimes, children can tune you out because of your constant negativity. It is natural behavior, mirrored by adults also when they don’t want to talk to someone who constantly kills the vibe. Try to be positive and encouraging, and you will always get your child’s attention.
What Can You do to Ensure Your Child is Paying Attention?
So, now that you have a better understanding of some of the reasons why a child may not be paying attention, what can you do to urge him to pay attention to what you are trying to tell him? Consider putting some of these strategies into action to improve your listening skills.
- Have the ability to see things from the same point of view
Whenever you are conversing with your child, get down on his or her level and suggest that he or she maintain a direct gaze on you during the conversation. Along with guaranteeing that you have the full attention of your child, this is an excellent method of teaching your child proper etiquette and how to listen properly while someone is speaking to him.
- Pay attention to what your youngster is saying
In the same way that he or she will learn to do other tasks by imitating your behavior, your child will learn to listen by imitating you. If you make it a habit of listening attentively anytime your child is speaking to you, it is more likely that they will pay attention when you speak to them.
- Find out why they aren’t following the rules and what they are doing wrong.
Take into consideration the potential that something is causing your child to pay less attention to you than normal. Putting him in a position where he will be unable to finish the assignment on his own initiative is something you should avoid. Ask yourself, ‘was it because he was fatigued or annoyed that he was having difficulty doing what you had asked him to do?’ Thinking about what might be causing your child’s actions rather than rejecting his behavior because he isn’t being courteous, is being difficult on purpose, or is ignoring you can help you understand his actions better.
- Keep your cool under pressure
It is important to remain calm when dealing with a difficult child. Avoid yelling or speaking in an aggressive manner. Why? When you lose your cool, you are displaying to your child that you are not in control and that she has the potential to push your buttons. Also shouting, while it can provide instant benefits, has a short shelf life and loses its effectiveness over time.
- Inform them that their actions are considered disrespectful
Communicate to your youngster that not listening to or ignoring someone who is speaking to you is not a courteous way to treat other people.
- Inject a spirit of playfulness into the situation
You might want to try making your interactions a little more entertaining with your children if you find yourself in a never-ending battle with them to get them to pay attention. Use timers to see who can finish fastest in a race to the door, or make a sticker chart to reward him with something he likes every time he gets ready on time for a week (or even longer) if you are frustrated by your child’s tardiness and inability to get ready on time. If you want to encourage his involvement, instead of making demands, you could use your imagination to do so.
- Turn the situation completely around
First, keep in mind to inform your child ahead of time of your intention to participate in this exercise so that she is aware of the fact that you are not neglecting her. Schedule 30 minutes (or more, depending on your child’s age and how she behaves) of uninterrupted listening time and inform your child that you will not listen to her for any longer than that. Not long after, your child will discover how aggravating it is to have someone with whom you wish to converse turn their back on you.
- Don’t rush things
Developing strong communication habits is a long-term process that takes a lot of effort to execute properly. Consider developing your child’s listening skills as a necessary component of establishing a strong connection that will benefit both you and your child in the years to come. This will help you avoid the disappointment of expecting obedience from your child the first time you say something.
There are several reasons for your child refusing to listen to you, however, you must always remember that it is not about your child’s actions. It is about your own reaction. If you make a mistake in reacting to your child’s actions, you will have to expend a lot of time and energy into making things right again. Instead, be calm and deal with the issue with an open mind.
In conclusion, it is important to understand that children may not always listen to their parents, but there are many reasons why this might be the case. It is essential to communicate with children in a clear and concise manner, while also being mindful of their attention span and level of absorption in other activities. Yelling, inconsistency and negativity can also contribute to a child’s lack of attention. To ensure that children are paying attention, it is helpful to use strategies such as getting on their level, actively listening to them, and understanding the reasons behind their behavior. By implementing these strategies, parents can improve communication and foster stronger relationships with their children.