Child Behavior Forum
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Not listening and how do I deal with it?

Posted by Angela on July 14, 1999 at 13:16:51
I have a reoccurring problem with both of my children.
My son, who is two and a half, I believe is a "typical little boy".
He likes to bounce and jump and run.  However, he has  
a problem listening to what his father and I say, or perhaps
remembering what is said.  We frequently have to tell him "no",
concerning the same things; don't play with that, don't hit your
sister and etc.  Also things which could causee damage to our
home, like spraying water in a running air conditioner.  We have
tried times outs, removing the source of the conflict raised
voices.  Nothing seems to work.
My husband believes spanking is the answer, but we disgree with
this completely.  How do I get my son to listen?
I have a similar problem with my daughter. She is almost seven.  
She questions everything you ask her to do.  And although I
always try to answer these questons, It gets very frustrating.
She will "speak back", say no.  Again we have tried time outs,
grounding, taking away favourite activiies.  My husband's
favourite saying is, you will do what I say, I am the grown up
here.  And again he believes that spanking is the answer for
not listening to what is asked or down right refusal, or
repeated asking.  What can I do? I do not believe in spanking!
My children both seem to be very happy well adjusted children.  
But this listening "problem"  Is becoming a growing concern.
I want my children to respect when someone, no matter who its
is, asks them to do something; teacher, grandparent babysitter.
I do not want this to be an issue when they are in their teens.  Can I solve this problem now?
How do I ask once and have my child do as asked?

Posted by Judy Granger on July 16, 1999 at 00:49:56
Please if anyone has any advice on children not listening, let me know, I have two girl age 5 and boy 3 they fight all the time and what ever I tell them that
needs to be done they tell me they did it and never did, They never seem to
listen to anything I say,  I am beginning to feel that they do it just to get
me upset, I give them tons of time outs a day and that doesn't seem to work, I
seperated them for hours on end and that seems to make it worse because than
they are bored, and have to get into things.  I see other children and some are
so well behaved.  I dream of that day.

Posted by HVMA Ph.D. - KDK on July 16, 1999 at 13:23:22
Dear Ms. Granger,
Parenting two pre-school age children can be quite stressful. At moments of frustration, it is not surprising that you might think your children are deliberately trying to make you upset. But such thinking is not helpful - it will likely result simply in your becoming angry toward your children. It is not in the nature of children to have the motivation to precipitate anger in their parents (even though their behavior sometimes results in our becoming angry).
It sounds like you are trying very hard to manage your children's behavior in a sensible way. However, I wonder if you are proceeding in a systematic, planned fashion. For example, time out is not the 'end all and be all' of behavior management, but it is an important aspect of sound behavior management with children and it is almost always successful. That might come as a surprise to you. But, in twenty-seven years of helping parents manage children's behavior, I have never seen an instance when parents could not learn how to employ time out as part of a program of sound behavior management and discipline. You can probably increase your effectiveness with this and other tools.
Take a look at the responses I mentioned to Angela. Read them carefully, and see if some of that information applies to you. You might consult a very helpful book on child behavior: S.O.S.: Help for Parents (by Lynn Clark,published by Parents Press).
Also consider talking with a child mental health clinician. They can offer you assistance with normal child rearing issues, including parent-child communication and discipline/behavior management.
This information is provided for purposes of general medical education. Please consult your health care providers for diagnostic and treatment options that pertain to your specific situation.
*Keyword: Toddler, Behavior, Discipline, Limit-Setting, Parenting

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A related discussion, My 5 year old doesn't listen was started.
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