What to Do If Your Child Isn’t Listening

Dealing with a child who refuses to listen is one of the most frustrating experiences a parent can have. Perhaps they are simply ignoring you. When we’re out in public and it appears like your children are the only ones who aren’t paying attention, it can make us feel like we’re doing something wrong.

The fact is, you aren’t doing anything incorrectly. Children do not listen for a variety of reasons. One of the most important reasons is that kids have yet to establish a listening skill set. It helps to understand the causes for our children’s incapacity to listen when we are encountering hard behavior in them, such as poor listening skills. Understanding the source of the problem allows us to develop methods that will assist our children develop strong listening skills over time.

What to Do When Your Child Is Unwilling to Listen

We often interpret a child’s refusal to listen as a show of disdain as parents. This is because, as adults, it feels personal and rude. However, we must change our thinking to recognize that our child has yet to develop proper listening skills. Instead of focusing on the skill set they lack, we parents may shift our focus to how we can assist kids gain those talents faster.

They have no idea what I’m talking about.

A youngster who refuses to listen may not understand the limit or message we place in front of them. Our instruction is frequently too long or difficult for young children to absorb. Keeping things brief and sweet will aid your child’s development of listening skills as well as their understanding of the limits established for them.

Failure to listen or focus can also indicate a more serious issue, such as an auditory processing delay, hearing loss, or Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). These are diagnoses that you and your pediatrician can talk about. Speak with your healthcare provider if you believe you have repeatedly tried to improve your child’s listening skills but have made little progress. Most of the time, effective listening is more about your child’s social development.

They’re programmed to push boundaries.

A youngster refuses to listen to test limits from the time he or she is a toddler. This is an attention-seeking activity, albeit a negative one. It helps children to test their limits to see how far they can push themselves while also encouraging interpersonal independence. It may appear defiant from the outside. However, it is appropriate in early childhood because it signifies developmental growth.

Even while we know that our child’s failure to listen is most likely developmental, parents can nevertheless be upset. We believe our child understands the boundaries, hears us, but refuses to listen. So, how do we assist children develop the abilities to be self-sufficient while also listening? Here are a few pointers.

How to Assist Your Child in Learning to Listen

  1. Be on time

When it comes to teaching children, we frequently want to talk and be heard right away. It is more beneficial if you, as the parent, select a time when the youngster is ready to listen. This entails finding a quiet place with few distractions and a time when they are well-rested. These three variables will ensure that your child is as focused on listening as possible.

  1. Active Inquiry

You may feel like a broken record, but asking your child to repeat the guidance you gave can help them focus and remember the boundaries you established for them. This will also confirm that they heard and comprehended what you were saying. The practice of repeating a phrase or instruction is known as active listening. When a command is important enough to be repeated, this is the case. This ability will eventually become second nature to your child.

  1. Provide them with options

Often, the issue isn’t a lack of listening skills, but rather a sense of powerlessness on your child’s part. So, rather than listening, they pick their own route, which often leads to resistance. It empowers our children when we give them a choice. It gives them a sense of control over the situation. It also assists children in developing decision-making abilities. Allow them to make a decision that will affect their day rather than merely following directions.

Of course, there are times and situations in a child’s life when he or she does not have a choice. However, if the moment is right, I always advise parents to give their children options. This will aid listening and compliance in those situations where there is no other option.

  1. Compassionate “Love Taps”

Respectful physical contact with a child is such an important component of their growth. Regrettably, it is frequently overlooked or forgotten. As I like to call them, “love taps” are simply patting your child on the head, shoulder, holding their hand, hugging them, or caressing their back. They’re small gestures that make them feel as if you’re present without having to say anything.

Because all children learn in different ways, we must ensure that we teach them in varied ways as well. You may find that you may grab their attention even better if you use verbal training and proper touch. Ten daily “love taps” to show respect and love, according to my research, will help your child feel heard and seen. As a result, they’re less likely to draw unfavorable attention to themselves by refusing to listen.

  1. Maintain a “PC” attitude at all times.

Children learn best when they are given positive and consistent instructions and messages. “Be PC!” is my slogan as an early childhood developmental specialist. “Consistently positive.” That adage holds true at this growth stage as well. It takes time, patience, and consistency to master this talent (listening).

First and foremost, make sure your standards for listening behavior are clear and consistent. As a result, your child will always know what is expected of him or her and will work toward becoming a better listener.

It’s just as vital to reinforce this great listening practice. Praising your child when they demonstrate good listening skills, or use a reward system to encourage good listening, are both effective ways to encourage this behavior. Giving a reward for good listening is not the same as bribery. Instead, it encourages them to work on a new developmental ability.

  1. Demonstrating Effective Communication

It teaches children to communicate properly and actively listen when they observe adults doing so. It will be easier for kids to model that behavior after you if you demonstrate that you take the time to listen to them.

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