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Does Your Child Refuse To Pay Attention To You? Here Are 5 Possible Reasons And What You Could Do About It

Jasmine Kaur Jasmine Kaur 3 Mins Read

Jasmine Kaur Jasmine Kaur


Are you frustrated about your child not paying attention to what you say? Read on to understand the reasons and to know what you can do instead

Toddler to Pre-teen
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Does Your Child Refuse To Pay Attention To You? Here Are 5 Possible Reasons And What You Could Do About It

Sometimes, your child may act like he hasn't heard a word of what you said or may ignore you outright. As a parent, such behavior can be extremely frustrating.

But, have you tried finding out what is preventing your child from listening to you?

Often, the reason for your child not listening to you may lie with you. Here are six reasons why your child may not be paying attention to you:

1. What you say isn't easy to understand: It is hard for children, and even adults, to follow a series of instructions. Giving children multiple instructions at the same time can force them to tune you out - that is, stop listening or paying attention. Also, if you are not clear in expressing what you want your child to do, he may not act according to your wishes.

  • What you could do: Give your child one instruction at a time and make him repeat it to ensure he has understood it. Also, use age-appropriate words. Your child is more likely to understand if you are brief and use simple words to express yourself.

2. You talk without getting your child's attention: Sometimes your child can become so engrossed in what she is doing, that she may not hear what you are saying. Remember, as children grow up, their ability to focus and concentrate increases particularly in activities of their interest.

  • What you could do: Before you begin talking to your child, get her attention by either gently lifting her chin and establishing eye contact or by sitting beside her and saying something like, "Please listen to what I am going to say." Or, you can wait until your child finishes what she is engaged in before you speak to her.

3. You have set a poor example: Children observe their parents and try to follow in their footsteps. Some parents set a poor example by not paying attention when their child is communicating with them or requesting their attention. And when the child also behaves in the same way parents could get upset with their lack of response.

  • What you could do: Although you may be juggling several responsibilities, you must understand that your child also needs your attention. So, close the report you are reading, keep your phone down, switch off your laptop and, be there for your child when he walks up to you expecting to be heard. Or ask for a few minutes' time, and make sure you get back to your child within the promised time.

4. You sound critical: Frequent criticism, or scolding and yelling by an exasperated parent can make a child tune the parent out. Children, as much as adults, dislike being talked to in an angry tone or a harsh manner. It makes the child perceive the parent as a threat and hence, look for ways to escape.

  • What you could do: Instead of speaking to your child in a loud voice or monotone, first calm yourself so that you could then use a calm yet firm tone. Remember, children respond best to kindness and to firmness.

5. Your child may have a medical condition: Sometimes medical conditions like a hearing deficit or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) can prevent a child from listening or paying attention to what is being said.

  • What you could do: If you suspect that your child doesn't listen to you even though there seems to be nothing wrong with her, do seek expert opinion to find out the correct cause. This can help set your child on the path to recovery.

Now that you know why children don't listen and, how you can get them to pay attention, keep in mind that changing a child's listening habits will take time. So, find out why your child isn't listening to you, and remember to be patient and persistent in your efforts.

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