There is nothing more frustrating for a parent than when children pretend not to listen when you call or speak just because they don’t care what you are saying. One of the main objectives of your child is to discover his independence and that he does with his closest environment and with the people he loves the most.
That your child ignores you is something quite natural in their growth, but there are attitudes that cannot be tolerated. Although it is frustrating for you, it is quite common and it is important to know how to act when they act that way. When he tries to show that he does not listen to you, it is a way he has to test the limits and see how you will react to this situation.
STRATEGIES FOR WHEN YOUR CHILD IGNORES YOU
When your child ignores you, even if it is quite normal in development, you need to know some strategies to be able to face this situation as effectively as possible. Don’t miss the following strategies:
- Your requests have to be specific and feasible. You will have to tell your children things clearly. If for example you say things like: “tidy up your room”, it may be too vague and your child does not do anything because he does not understand what to do more specifically. Instead, you can say something more concrete, such as, “Please put your toys in the box.”
- Simplify your requests. Your child may ignore you because he doesn’t understand what you are saying. By the age of two, children need instructions with a maximum of one or two steps. You can say something like, “Please go upstairs and find your shoes” or “Please come here and sit next to me.”
- Motivate your child. Young children love to please, so compliments and praise will help your child meet your expectations. For example, you can say something like: “I am very proud of you for putting your jacket on so quickly”, or “I love that you listen to me so well.” You can also use an incentive for your child to do what you ask, such as a reward chart.
- Use alternatives to “no.” Perhaps your child has stopped listening to you because he hears the word “no” too many times, so many times, that he has already lost the real meaning of that word. Instead of saying something like, “No, you can’t eat that right now,” you can say something like, “You can eat it after your meal.” When you give children a choice, you are giving them the opportunity to feel in control of the situation. If he wants to do something and it’s too small, instead of telling him not to do it, you can say something like, “Wait, we’re going to do it together.”
- Try to be more understanding. Imagine that you are talking to a friend when suddenly, you are ordered to stop what you are doing because there is something else you need to do. You will not always have time to convince your children to get in the car or wash their hands, although whenever possible, it will be useful to advise them that they should do so so that they know what is expected of them at each specific moment.
If you are concerned that your child is ignoring you more often than he is listening to you, you will need to talk to your doctor about this. Although a serious health or problem is unlikely, your pediatrician may recommend a hearing test or other developmental screenings. If he doesn’t have any physical hearing problems and you’ve tried everything discussed and he seems to keep ignoring what you’re saying, it may have nothing to do with age or development, but rather misbehavior. If necessary, go to a professional to give you educational guidelines for the home.