Nurse Mom to five here with a few tips for when your kids aren't listening to you. This one's a bit longer than normal, but I hope you will find this information useful!
I've been there- you ask little four year old Henry to pick up his toys. You leave the room and come back 15 minutes later to find him still playing with his toys. Grrrr. You grit your teeth and through your teeth you say, "Henry, I asked you to clean up your toys. Can you please clean them up?" Henry replies, "NO, i'm playing mom!".
You clench your jaw. "Henry, I need you to pick up your toys now, we have to leave!" and Henry still protests as your anxiety levels climb because you have to be out the door in 30 minutes and you just want him to follow through with what you asked!!! You give in because you don't want to fight this battle anymore and just need the chore done. It's just easier to do it anyway, you know it will get done the proper way anyway.
Henry goes on his merry way and then you ask him to get his shoes on and jacket so you can leave. Now you have to be out the door in ten minutes and you still haven't showered. Well scrap the shower, spray in the dry shampoo this time. You throw your outfit on and you come back. Henry STILL hasn't put his shoes and jacket on and you're quite fed up with him not listening to your requests.
You holler from the entry way, HENRY come ON!!! We've got to leave the house in five minutes and you MUST come get your shoes on NOW!!! Henry doesn't appear. You now have to track him down and you are LIVID. You are on a time crunch AND your child isn't listening. GRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!
So you demand he come now, he grudgingly comes to the door. He slowly is putting his shoes on and so you then just grab his jacket and put it on him so you can get out the door. Whew, you made it to the car in the nick of time. Henry is upset because you swooped him up and buckled him up and you're finally on the road.
This is just one scenario of what happens in my life sometimes, and I have to remember to get on their level. Ask yourself these things when you can go back and hash out why the child wasn't listening to you.
For the first request, does Henry know how and where all the toys go? Have you shown him where all the toys go? Sometimes kids haven't been shown how to do the task requested of them and don't actually know how to do it, so they chose to ignore the request. Consistency and repetition is key here, because showing them once doesn't necessarily equate to them independently doing the task. My kids can clear their plates from the table now, but it took consistent positive reminders to clear their spot after their meal!
For the second request to get on his shoes and jacket, this is another task that maybe a four year old SHOULD know how to do, but sometimes they cannot get it just right. They may be ignoring you because they want YOU to guide them. My four year old still requires help with his shoes at times and he can get frustrated. Children many times aren't intentionally not listening, but aren't sure of the requested task so they don't complete it.
I then take the time to go back over the task WITH them, hold their hand consistently through the tasks requested until they can feel confident to do it independently. Kids won't ever learn if we do everything for them. PERIOD. When we take the time to teach them now, it pays off later!!!
Anger never gets us anywhere, I KNOW THIS first hand as sometimes I yell when I become impatient. There are times when I have lost my cool and blown a gasket, but always remember to go back and make things right. But the anger makes the children want to rebel even more and they respond with anger. It can be a viscious cycle to get out of, but it CAN be done!!!
Kids are very smart and you just have to find what works best for your child. Sometimes they are being defiant, but just know that consistency, follow through and repetition is SO rewarding when you see them doing the chores independently and when they are proud and happy to do them too!!!
Also ask yourself these questions: Are all my child's needs met? Sometimes it can be a matter of their basic needs; hungry, thirsty, have to use the bathroom, tired, or their emotions are off. When you find the root cause of why they aren't listening to you, things can be a LOT easier going forward!!!
Keep your chin up and keep on parenting!!! These are the good years!!! :-)
Have a wonderful day!!!
Kara- The Nurse Mom
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