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Why Won't My Child Listen To Me?

a child not listening to their father

As parents, there are few things more frustrating than feeling like our children aren't listening to us. It's natural to take it personally, but before we dive into confrontation, let's take a step back and consider what might really be happening. By reframing our perspective, we can approach these situations with compassion and understanding.

1. Don't Take It Personally:

It's easy to feel like our children are intentionally ignoring us, but more often than not, their behavior is influenced by various factors beyond simply trying to disobey. Rather than assuming the worst, let's ask ourselves why they might be behaving this way.

2. Understanding the Factors:

Several factors could be at play when it seems like our children aren't listening:

   a. Distraction: Children may be engrossed in another activity or find it challenging to focus on multiple things at once. Asking for their full attention and creating a brief interruption can help redirect their focus. Try making eye contact or a tap on the shoulder.


   b. Wandering Minds: Long-winded explanations can lead to children drifting off mentally. Keeping our communication concise and engaging can help maintain their attention. Children with neurodiverse brains usually have a 12-15 second window of listening. The more concise, the better.


   c. Working Memory: Working memory has its limits. In a sense, working memory is like a post it note. You can only fit so many things on a post-it before it becomes too crowded, and eventually something doesn’t make sense in all the writing. Working memory is the same. If you give 5 instructions to your child at a time, but they have working memory difficulties, it may not get remembered. Simplifying instructions and utilizing visual aids can assist children with poor working memory in better understanding and remembering.


   d. Auditory Processing Challenges: Difficulty filtering out background noise can make it hard for children to focus solely on our voice. Minimizing distractions can aid in improving their ability to listen effectively.


   e. Hearing vs. Listening: Hearing is passive, while listening requires active engagement. If children aren't fully focused, they may hear but not truly listen.


   f. Physical Well-being: Energy, sleep, and nutrition significantly impact cognitive function. Ensuring these basic needs are met is crucial for optimal listening and overall performance. If you try to tell your child a list of chores after school and they are hungry, they may get irritable not because they don’t want to comply, but rather because their physiological needs are taking precedence. 

3. Take Action:

If you find yourself resonating with these insights and are seeking further guidance, we're here to help. Book a consultation with us to explore personalized strategies for improving communication and understanding with your child. Visit us at to book your call today. 

By reframing our perspective and considering the underlying factors, we can approach moments of perceived disobedience with empathy and patience. Together, we can foster stronger connections and communication with our children, nurturing their growth and development every step of the way.


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