If you know how it feels when your child won’t listen to you the first time you say something and you end up repeating things over and over again, then here are the 5 main reasons why this is happening.
One of the most common parenthood scenarios is the one where parents keep repeating things to their kids – younger or older – before they start listening. And yet, some parents seem to be luckier.
They actually succeed at something that other parents can only dream of: their kids listen to them the first time they say something.
What do these parents know that others don’t?
You’re offering too many warnings
“I’m going to count to 5, and when I reach 5 you’ll start to…” – only to end up counting to 5 five more times before your kid does what he’s told. “How many times do I have to tell you?” or “This is your last warning. I told you to…” – Are these lines familiar to you?
Why do you end up saying them over and over again? Because your kid has gotten so used to warnings, that by know he’s learnt that you’re probably bluffing. In fact, too many warnings teach your kid not to listen to you the first time you ask.
And so you end up raising your voice. And only now has it become perfectly clear to your kid, and he’ll listen. Or maybe you have some other tell that lets him know that if he keeps pushing it from that point on, then things will definitely not go his way. Either way, only now is he willing to listen to your original message – that he heard the first time you said, but that he willingly ignored.
You hyperbolize your threats
“You will never ever go to the park again if you don’t clean up your room now!” or “Unless you put your toys back, I will throw them all away.” Unfortunately, these two lines, often used by parents who have run out of patience, don’t work. But even though many parents know this, they keep using them. And kids know it as well – they know that, no matter how angry you are, you’ll never carry out your threat, so it must not be real. If he knows that you don’t mean it, than why would he take you seriously?
Hyperbolized threats aren’t the only problem. Because sometimes they’re even dressed as something else. Instead of yelling, acting serious or upset, some parents just hide the threat behind an enthusiastic, cheerful voice – the same one the use when they reward. “If you don’t stop, we turn the car back and go home.”
You’re obsessed with winning the argument
At the end of the day, you may end up saying to yourself: “What was I thinking contradicting him like I was just another kid?” And you must know by now that the “Yes, you will!” “No, I won’t!” arguments won’t shorten your misery, but prolong it. And yet, in spite of all that, you still feel the need to win, to be listened to, right there and then.
So what really happens is this: You tell your kid to clean up his room. And you repeat it for 20 minutes. 20 minutes of your lives, lost.
You don’t respect your own rules
You explained the rules to your kid. Then, you let him know what the consequences were for breaking them. But if you don’t respect them yourself, why would your kid listen to you? He needs to know that rules and consequences exist, and all he gets from your behavior is that he doesn’t need to respect the rules, because there won’t really be any consequences if he doesn’t. You have all the tools, but they don’t work, because you don’t use them properly.
You raise your voice
When your kid doesn’t listen and won’t do what you tell him, yelling is an adult’s last resort. And your kid has learned that this is just about how far he can push things. But by now you can only reach three outcomes:
1. Only now does the child listen to what you have to say.
2. The child becomes even more ambitious and still won’t do what he’s told. And if he’s a toddler, he might even throw a tantrum.
3. If your child is older, he might just answer with the same tone of voice.
Raising your voice doesn’t work. And what’s worse, it will damage your relationship with your child, because now there are two sides fighting, things escalate, a certain tension sets in and, at the end of the day, nobody is happy or content with the way things went. The road to this result was a disappointment for everyone.
And if these five reasons why your kid doesn’t listen to you don’t seem enough or if, by following this advice, the problem still persists, than maybe you should read these additional 10 reasons why your kid doesn’t listen to you.