My Child Won’t Listen!

Therapy Tips to Help Parents Be Heard

Your child just won’t listen to you. You’re repeating yourself multiple times over as everything you say is going in one ear and out the other. You’re at a loss for next steps. We get it – it’s frustrating! Don’t worry, Decade2Connect is here to help.

There can be a variety of reasons why a child may not listen to their parent or caregiver, such as developmental changes, communication breakdowns, and environmental factors. Here are some potential reasons why your child may not be listening to you and a few pointers on how you can respond:

Developmental Changes

As children grow and develop, their ability to understand and communicate with others changes. Depending on your child’s age and stage of development, they may be struggling to understand your instructions or express their needs and wants.

Helpful Tip: Try to communicate with your child in ways that match their level of understanding, and use positive reinforcement when they listen and follow directions. Speaking in their language, so to speak, will shorten the communication gap between you.

Communication Breakdowns

Misunderstandings and miscommunications can be common between parents and children. And if your child doesn’t clearly understand what you’re asking of them, they’ll likely ignore your request. As the parent, it’s your responsibility to ensure communication is clear and reciprocal.

Helpful Tip: It’s important to make sure you’re communicating clearly, using language that is appropriate for your child’s age and development. Additionally, try to be an active listener when your child is speaking to you. Just as with any human, when your child feels heard and validated, they’re more likely to listen and validate your feelings in response.

Environmental Factors

Especially with social media, distractions are at an all time high. Everything around us has our attention, which has impaired many people’s ability to listen without disruption.  Understand that your child is being raised in a generation with considerably more distractions than we’ve ever had.

Helpful Tip: Try to create a calm, quiet environment when you are communicating with your child, and minimize distractions such as TV or other devices. Additionally, make sure that you are not overly stressed or upset when communicating with your child, as this can make it more difficult for them to listen. In taking small steps towards focused communication, your child will slowly gain the skills needed to listen more effectively, a skill today’s society has stunted in development.

Lack of Consequences

If your child consistently ignores your instructions without facing any consequences, they may not see a reason to listen. Have you ever disciplined them for not listening? What’s your response towards this behavior?

Helpful Tip: Try to establish clear consequences for not following directions, and follow through consistently. While it’s important to respect your child, there’s also importance in setting boundaries as the parent. You can still show them respect by showing them how to respect you.

Power Struggles

This is a common occurrence when children begin big stages of development. As children begin to grow, there’s a natural propensity to become resistant. Suddenly, a parent’s wisdom results in an eye roll. And while you may know what’s best for your child, there will likely be resistance on the receiving end.

Helpful Tip: There is a balance in continuing to parent effectively, while also encouraging your child to explore their individuality. Try to find ways to give them some control or choice in their daily activities, while still maintaining clear boundaries and expectations

Remember that every child is different, and there may be a combination of factors at play that are causing your child to not listen to you. Be patient, consistent, and understanding, and continue to work on improving communication and understanding with your child. With respect and consistency, there is an opportunity in their behavior to build connection.

For any other questions in parenting, connect with a member of Decade2Connect today!

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