Does it seem like you repeat yourself constantly? Or maybe, you say something to your child and its almost as if they didn’t even know you were in the same room. Then if you are like me, you find yourself yelling… again! It happens to the best of us! We all have times when your child won’t listen. Today, a friend of mine is going to share a tip you need to try today!
Getting my child to listen has been a perpetual struggle since he entered the toddler years. Anytime I needed to get his immediate attention or stop a “naughty” behavior, my natural inclination was to shout his name or threaten timeout. The struggle became even more real as we awaited the arrival of baby number two.
So the listening game always felt like a lost cause. No matter what tone I used or how loudly I yelled. Nothing seemed to work.
“Don’t push your brother!”
“Stop throwing blocks!”
“Get down from there, this instant!”
And it’s no surprise the yelling or threatening didn’t help. Young children just naturally tune out mom or dad from time to time. They are on an endless quest for independence and getting their undivided attention isn’t always possible, let alone easy.
One Simple Tip to Try When Your Child Won’t Listen
But what do you do in the heat of the moment, when you feel your blood boiling as your child ignores your repeated requests to listen?
During those high-stress moments when I don’t have much time to think about what I should do or how I should say it, I have found that one tip to get my usually-defiant child to listen is to add gentle, but firm physical contact.
Although it takes a bit more effort than yelling across the room, when I rush to his side and lift him up into my arms to tell him exactly what I need him to do, it started to resonate with him. Maybe it’s the undivided attention he can now pay me as I am staring him face-to-face. Or perhaps, it’s the ability for me to speak to him sternly, yet sincerely. Either way, 9 times out of 10 the outcome is positive.
You also just can’t deny the power of physical contact — another form of communication that has the ability to transmit and receive emotional signals. It’s amazing what a simple touch can do.
You may find other forms of touch that work for you: holding a hand, tapping a shoulder, or holding arms down firmly by their side. Whatever your preference, realize they all present a way to communicate with your child and even provide a little diversion from a negative behavior.
Of course on the other end of the spectrum with physical contact, is the negative emotions transmitted with negative touch, like spanking. Whatever your opinion here, keep in mind that spanking doesn’t always work for many and can actually exacerbate negative behavior.
The toddler years (and beyond) have really tried my patience…especially with a child who doesn’t listen easily. It’s even more challenging when the lack of listening is causing hurtful or harmful behaviors to others. While consistency is always key with any strategy, when I’m just not getting through to my child, the power of positive touch is one method that can only help the communication grow stronger.
So the next time you are at your wits end and you feel like nothing you are doing is working, try a simple touch. An arm on the shoulder, a pat on the back, or a hand in hand touch. You and your child will be happier with this change.
Ana Taney is a mom and author of the blog Mommy’s Bundle. Get more of parenting tips as she travels her journey through the baby and toddler years. Connect with her via her blog, Facebook or Pinterest.
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For More Tips for Parenting a Child That Won’t Listen:
A Simple Tip to Stop Yelling
A Newbies Guide to Positive Parenting
End Power Struggles Today
Why Your Toddler Says “No”
7 Empowering Scripts to Get Kids to Listen
6 thoughts on “When Your Child Won’t Listen: A Tip You Need to Try”
The same can apply equally well to puppies. While new puppy-owners try to pull on the leash or yell at their dog, a light touch on the puppy’s back will get their attention straight away. Shouting is usually ineffectual and serves only to give us a headache!
Thank you for this post. I’ve just recently discovered your blog while reading Sensory Processing 101. I was a big fan of the Inspired Treehouse, but it is your view on things that has really made this book a bible to me right now. My 2yo son has just been diagnosed with SPD and underlying ASD traits and you guys have help me bring so much peace to my household.
This has worked well for me as well. For a long time, we thought our son was deaf because he wouldn’t even react during the in-cabin hearing tests. We have seen many improvements now, but one that has not failed and the physical contact. Stopping him gently from continuing with the behavior has reduced the stress and the fits. He has stopped getting so angry when asked to stop. He just moves on, which is a great improvement.
Oh wow, you just made my night! Thank you for your kind words! As for listening and sensory needs it is a whole new ballgame. A lot of times your child might not even process what they have heard you say, so getting closer and touching them is the only thing you can do to get their attention!
Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! As a stay at home mom who’s just spent a week in hospital for exhaustion (but going home today – yay!) , I can’t tell you how helpful this tip is going to be for me! I like the idea of picking them up – we’re a super affectionate family, so I’m hoping that a cuddle and listening to mommy will work together well. Blessings on your beautiful (and smart) head!
And what do you do with a 16 year old that doesn’t listen? Any thoughts?
That is a whole other ball game isn’t it 🙂 I will look for tips.