10 Reasons Your Kids Don’t Listen to You

- | 65 Aha! comments | Posted in category: Family & Parenting

mother showing it is easy to make children listen to you

As parents most of you want your kids to listen to you – isn’t it? But, how often do your children really listen to you?

It can be rather frustrating when kids just don’t want to listen, which further aggravates the problem.

I’m sure as kids, even you might’ve had problems listening to your parents, and it must’ve been an uphill task for them to get you to listen! Sounds familiar?

Well, I remember my time. Even though I was an obedient child but there were still times when I wouldn’t listen to my parents.

Similarly, having raised my kids, I sure know the reasons why they don’t listen, and what I need to do to make them listen. That’s what I would love to share with you today.

Well, there are various reasons as to why kids don’t listen to you – and I’ve tried to mention most of them below.

“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” ~ Robert Fulghum

Why Kids Don’t Listen to You

Unless kids are taught to listen, they won’t listen. Listening is a learned behavior.

Kids are born to think they are in charge, so unless you ask them to listen to you – they won’t.

So, the real training starts when they are babies, which is when parents teach them the yes’s and no’s of things.

Mostly kids, like adults, prefer to do what they want to do. If a child is playing and you ask him/her to finish homework – he/she might just ignore what you said!

Don’t you too love to do things that interest you, that let you have fun, and that you WILL to do?

Children don’t listen to you because it isn’t pleasurable or convenient for to them to do so. They rather do what they love doing, or do just the opposite of what their parents want.

In case of teenagers, some might just not do anything, no matter how many times they’re told – ask me!

Actually speaking, aren’t parents forever telling their kids what to do and not to do!

Could that be something wrong that parents do in spite of their best intentions to teach the RIGHT things to their children?

I think most parents are forever after their kids to clean up, eat their meals in time, brush their teeth, finish their studies or homework, bedtime, and other such un-fun activities – isn’t it?

Why would your kids listen to you if you get so boring in the first place? That includes me too, as I do a lot of that myself! Perhaps we need to learn more about effective parenting.

Sometime kids turn a deaf ear to what you as parents have to say, which is one of the main reasons why kids don’t listen to you.

They just let your words pass through their heads without even registering them in their brains!

“Listening to parents’ advice is sort of like watching commercials. You know what’s coming, you’ve heard it all before, it’s a big bore, but you listen anyway.” ~ Anonymous

Reasons Why Kids Don’t Listen

The common mistakes or reasons that lead to such “parent deafness” in children could be many. But mentioned below are what I feel the reason kids don’t listen to you – the parents.

I’ve also included what all you can do, if it helps. That reasons are because as parents you:

1- Lecture kids

I’ve seen my own kid’s just gaze over the moment I start lecturing them and that really doesn’t work! I guess I need to become a better parent and lecture them less 🙂

Children decide whether to listen or not from the way parents speak, and their tone.

They feel like parents are forever just talking, talking, and talking, without really listening to them. It works best to not lecture, preach, or instruct them forever, instead take their views too.

Not to mention that some parents never stop talking! They don’t think about giving the child a chance to talk, and the child also doesn’t listen to you when you talk non-stop.

Instead, say all that you want to say in less than 10 seconds, or else you might be wasting your time.

Remember, a child’s attention span is short, so use declarative statements and be clear with what you want your kids to do.

2- Use some words kids don’t like

Parents often start their sentences with the words “You”, “If”, “Why”, or the big negatives like “No”, “Don’t”, and “Can’t”. These words stop your kids from listening to you.

‘You’ statement make a child feel as if you are attacking his or her character. They feel you are directly pointing a finger at them. ‘If’ statements makes kids feel as if they are threatened.

‘Why’ statements expect our kids give explanation to us about their behavior, which they can’t if they are too young. They probably don’t understand and know the whys.

The rest of the words too stop kids from doing what they want to do, even if it’s something they can and you feel they can’t – that puts them off!

3- Speak in a loud instructive tone

Parents often speak in a loud authoritative voice.

Then it becomes a habit with some kids to only respond when they are spoken to in a loud tone. That’s because they know NOW their parents mean business.

They don’t listen unless they are spoken to in such a voice.

4- Talk without first getting the attention of your kids

Parents start talking when the child is busy doing something else. Instead, inform your kids that you need to talk and need their attention. Let them stop or end what they are doing, and then listen to you.

That eye-to-eye contact is vital before you speak. Thus, sometimes when your child isn’t listening to you or seems to ignore you, it might be because he/she is distracted.

This happens mostly with younger kids, who tend to be fidgety and lose focus easily. Thus, it’s better to get their full attention before you speak.

With teens too, make sure they are not on the mobile, Facebook, or playing video games while you’re talking to them. They get so engrossed that they probably don’t even hear you said something to them!

It’s not easy understanding teenagers and the lives they lead, and you need to sometimes ask for their time to talk to them, or make them listen to you.

5- Yell when kids don’t listen to you

Don’t you as parents sometimes yell or blow your top! You feel that by yelling or raising your voice, your kids will listen to you. Or you are just angry and at times take out your frustration on your kids.

In such cases children often turn into their own shell and won’t talk nor listen to you. Or, they might just get angry, reply back, shout, and turn defiant.

At such times, you need to talk in a soft loving voice and not loudly – to make kids listen to you.

6- Compel your child or use the language of coercion

If kids like to have their own way, it can sometimes become difficult for bossy parents. Certain kids respond better when in control, though it might not work with some parents.

There might be clashes between such parents and kids, which will stop them from listening to you.

7- Repeat their reminders and request

Kids are quick to make out how their parents will repeat themselves, and how they will react thereafter.

Remember, if after 1-2 repetitions your child doesn’t listen, then by constantly repeating yourself, you become a nag.

Instead, you need to lay out rules, and follow the consequences for not listening to you.

8- Are not a good role model

Remember, your kids will follow you. So, if you are a good listener, they notice that and do the same. But if they notice that you don’t listen when someone talks or they talk, they too will follow you.

Don’t talk loudly, fight back, or not listen to your spouse or others? Your kids are watching you!

They imitate your actions more than your words in most of the cases, and all this happens so quietly that you don’t even come to know of it. So, be careful.

9- Out of choice

If after trying all the above kids don’t listen to you, it might be because they choose not to listen.

There could be many underlying reasons for that like seeking your attention, disrespecting you, or some other unresolved issue they might have with you.

Sometimes, it’s just the stage of teens having their share of problems when they tend to turn to their friends more than you.

10- Medical reason

If there is some medical condition like some listening problem or other condition, your child might not listen. It might be wise to consult your pediatrician or doctor at such times.

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” ~ Shel Silverstein

You might enjoy this video that helps you understand why kids don’t listen to you, especially nowadays as compared to kids in the earlier days. Weren’t we all good kids! This video shows how.

[youtube id=”44tQoGS5Zlg” width=”620″ height=”360″]

Understanding Why Children Don’t Listen ~ Patti Cancellier ~ YouTube Video

But, how do you handle kids who just don’t listen at all? Even after you’ve tried reasoning, distracting, reminding, explaining, bribing, punishing, or even begging – and nothing works?

Ah…that secret I would share with you in another post about how to make kids listen to you.

Remember, they are kids and sometimes they don’t listen to you – it’s okay and normal. You too were a bit like that when you were a child – weren’t you? Of course, their behavior should be within limits.

But there are workable solutions so that the problem doesn’t aggravate, provided you and your kids are ready to work on them.

Over to you

As a child, did you always listen to your parents? If you are a parent, what do you think are the reasons your kid’s don’t listen to you? Share your views with all of us below.


Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos

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65 Comments - Read and share thoughts

  1. James Harris

    2019-01-09 at 4:09 am

    So basically you’re saying adults have to coddle their children and nicely ask them to do what they’re suppose to? Have you noticed how screwed up young adults are these days? Maybe their lack of discipline at home when they’re young is the problem. Just a thought.

  2. hiren

    2014-08-19 at 11:52 am

    Nice article very informative post for all. All the parents should read this post one time its very helpful for them. thanks to sharing.

  3. jason nelmes

    2013-09-20 at 9:34 pm

    Very interesting article, having four children of my own(including triplets)I can surely relate to most of the things you say, Time and Patience is the key!

  4. Angela McCall

    2013-03-01 at 2:06 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    I could not agree with you more. When it comes to being CONFIRM, a parent need not to raise his/her voice when talking to the teenage child. Some kids might say, “Oh, I’m not taking my mom so seriously.” And his friend asked, “Why?” Then he said, “Well, mom hasn’t yelled at me yet.” *laughs*

    We don’t want our kids to take us like this! I think a low-tone “confirmed” voice is what the teenage child needs. Plus, the yelling doesn’t do us any good except high blood pressure! You might get an action but the kid wouldn’t take you seriously until he sees you blue in the face! This is a great article to those parents who are still struggling with their teenagers.

    Anyway, it’s pass midnight here on my end and I better go to bed before I turned into a pumpkin. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.


    • Harleena Singh

      2013-03-02 at 2:16 pm

      Hi Angela,

      Glad you could relate to the post and agree too. 🙂

      Absolutely! Parents can easily be firm by using softer tones, though most of us don’t realize the fact and feel raised voices will have a better impact on the kids, but that only affects adversely I feel. I agree, this really doesn’t work with teens – ask me! I liked your example…lol…that’s how it really gets 🙂

      Oh yes…yelling, shouting, loud voices only harm the parents, and it will result in high blood pressure and other ailments, and none of this will make the kids listen to you either ways – so why should at all. The kids too tend to get used to your behavior, and they see ok mom hasn’t raised her voice or shouted, so I can wait a while, and will do what she asks me to once I hear her yell! The answer to all of this lies in the hands of the parents – they have to mold their kids and teach them to learn to listen to them, without having to repeat things more than once or twice.

      Thanks for stopping by hope you have a nice weekend as well 🙂

  5. Jackie

    2013-02-28 at 4:22 am

    Such great points. It suddenly came to my attention recently that my kiddo didn’t listen to me at all. I was guilty of a few of the things you mentioned. I think the biggest thing was that I had acted in a way that showed her she didn’t need to listen to me, wasn’t expected to listen. So now we set some new rules. I lowered my voice. I only say things once. There are clear definitive boundaries/consequences, and she’s listening 95% better, life is calmer and much more fun.

    It’s funny how I’ve lived almost 7 years without her listening and only realized THAT was the issue recently. 🙁 but…when you know better you do better.

    • Harleena Singh

      2013-02-28 at 10:55 am

      Hi Jackie,

      Nice to see you back. Glad you could relate to the post 🙂 Yes indeed, kids tend to not listen to their parents for various reasons. Mostly, it’s the parents who need to guide their children in the right way so that they listen to them, and it’s not tough once you make out the reasons they aren’t listening. I agree, speaking in a soft and gentle tone work much better with kids as compared to loud voices, and that’s what they tend to learn from you too.

      It’s never too late as they say. Whenever you learn and implement it, is the first day – a new beginning – isn’t it?

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with all of us. 🙂

  6. Utkarsh Bhatt

    2013-02-27 at 10:13 pm

    Wow!! I am a 19 year old boy and I can certainly say that most of the stuff you have written is true. I can certainly say that the point about Yelling is the most accurate one!

    • Harleena Singh

      2013-02-28 at 10:43 am

      Welcome to the blog Utkarsh!

      Glad you could relate to the post and found them to be true. 🙂 Yes indeed, yelling and shouting at their kids is something parents should avoid, and in the same way, it’s something even the kids shouldn’t do – isn’t it?

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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10 Reasons Your Kids Don’t Listen to You

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