The Kids Don’t Listen and Here’s Why…

My day consists of several parts. One part preparing my family’s next move, one part curating content for my business, and one part negotiating what seems to be an endless uphill battle. As a work at home mom, things are not always easy. Sure, this statement has been said countless times; and the ultimate truth remains that parenting does not come with a manual. Furthermore, I’m sure this is probably not the first article you read after searching on Google. Why is it that the kids don’t listen?

The answer will surprise you. In fact, I have 7 valid reasons why the kids don’t listen and I’ve listed them all in this article. Along with a few tips that have personally helped us as a family, by the end of this article, my hope is that it’ll allow you to gain some peace of mind. I totally get it. As parents, we’re all just trying to survive. However, there are some really valid points to consider before flying off the handle. Continue reading to learn more.

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Many parents have said, at one point or another, that their kids don't listen. In this post, we'll explore 7 reasons why, and give some easy parenting solutions. Find out the reasons your child is not behaving the way you expect and how to turn this perspective around. You won't have to be frustrated or say, "The kids don't listen," any longer.

Many parents have said, at one point or another, that their kids don’t listen. In this post, we’ll explore 7 reasons why, and give some easy parenting solutions. Find out the reasons your child is not behaving the way you expect and how to turn this perspective around. You won’t have to be frustrated or say, “The kids don’t listen,” any longer.

In case you didn’t know about us

We’re a family of five. My husband and I have 3 children, all under the age of 6. We are active and inventive, and live life with intention. We believe gentle parenting that focuses on respectful assertion and discipline. The older two children attend a charter school, while the youngest stays home all day with me. My husband works full time outside of the home, as well as attends college for his engineering degree. I, on the other hand, work from home. 24 hours a day, I’m surrounded by at least one child.

Speaking of which, each one of our three children has a different personality type, even though they were all raised exactly the same way. This just goes to show that the reason the kids don’t listen is not necessarily a direct result of a single parenting action. The kids are who they are, and some behaviors are ingrained in them from birth. Although we can persuade and reward to get the results we want, we need to understand that it’s not foolproof.

There is nothing you can do to get your kids to follow directions 100% of the time.

Even with that being said, there are still things that will help. This article is about giving parents everywhere a solid peace of mind. After reading the 7 reasons the kids don’t listen, you’ll feel a lot more informed to deal with everyday situations and behavioral challenges. As you read, remember that this is only a guide, and I am not a trained behavioral therapist. All of the content in this article is my own, and it was developed after years of observing my own children.

Reason 1: They have their own agenda

Let’s face it, kids play hard. They get so engulfed in their playtime that their imagination runs away with them. Through that active and vivid play, come expectations and agendas. Sure, you may have told your child not to leave their toys all over the floor; but from their perspective, they have bigger things at stake. To them, their slaying of the dragon was more real at the moment than your need for tidiness.

Solution: Before starting an activity, talk about it. Ask your child what they want to do. Allow them to share their ideas, then you share yours. Try saying, “Wow, playing with Legos sounds really fun. For me, I’d really like to keep the house clean. After Legos, will you help me pick them up?” Your child then becomes a willing participant to your agenda, while at the same time, still enjoying theirs.

Reason 2: They do not think of the long-term

Kids do not have the same experience or life skills as adults. Even more so, the kids don’t listen because they do not know what’s on the road ahead. They live in the moment and it’s as simple as that. Thus, we can explain the reason for our rules but our children will not always understand the concepts. Since they lack knowledge of particular life experiences, simply telling children explanative statements is not usually effective.

Solution: Basically, we have to put it in terms that the kids will understand. It may seem slight, but it works. Here are two versions of the same thing:

“Please put on your seatbelt so you won’t get hurt; or, in case we have an accident.” The child has never experienced an accident and does not know exactly what you mean.

“Please put on your seatbelt because it makes me happy when you’re safe.” The child has experienced the feeling of you happy with their behavior. They desire the positive feedback.

Can you see the difference?

There are 7 valid reasons the kids don't listen. Let's explore all of them.

There are 7 valid reasons the kids don’t listen. Let’s explore all of them.

Reason 3: They feel you won’t notice

Are you giving directives while you are busy doing other things? I know I have. Heck, there’s only one of me, and three of them, and all of the house chores need to be done. I’ll try to delegate while multitasking and it always fails. The kids don’t listen because they feel that you are too busy to notice anyway.

Solution: Slow down, talk face to face and notice when they take action.

Reason 4: There is no incentive

Believe it or not, I’m as authoritative as they come. It’s hard for me to forget about my previous days in the corporate world. I would say, “Do XYZ,” and in 20 minutes, everything was complete. However, children are not employees. Their relationship with you is dynamic and built on so much more than mere agreements. We have to work hard at establishing trust and maintaining the connections.

As a result, the kids don’t listen because there’s probably no incentive. Good behaviors are easy to neglect. The ship keeps sailing when all are onboard. If you, as the captain, only communicate when things are going incorrectly, your shipmates will have very little reason to stay proactively engaged.

Solution: Use praise often. It will make a world of difference. Now, I don’t want you to sound fake or cheesy (since your children will know if you’re just trying to fluff them up); but, genuine and precise compliments go really far. Remember to encourage your children as a holistic approach to good behavior.

Reason 5: They are bored

What do you mean they are bored? We did all kinds of activities and went several places today. It’s a question that stumps parents all the time. The thing to think about is, did your child enjoy the activities they were subjected to?

When kids are bored, they tend to act out. Additionally, boredom stems from doing activities that they do not want to do. Your children have an inner energy that can not be matched. Hence, if they don’t get the opportunity to release it, they will turn to mischief. Understandably, life is not all fun and games. There are tasks that must be done together as a family. Just try your very best to balance it out.

Reason 6: Something is distracting them

When we try to communicate while the TV is blaring or while other distractions are present, it leads to breaks in the comprehension. When the kids don’t listen, try to isolate the message. Make sure you are face to face and all other things are quiet. Tell your child briefly what you need to say. Keep the words simple, short, and to the point. Furthermore, do it in a kind, calm tone.

Reason 7: They feel that you don’t understand

When the kids don’t listen, sometimes it’s because they feel misunderstood. They may deem some parental instructions invalid because they feel invalidated themselves. As parents, it’s so hard to listen to the whining day in and day out. It can turn into static in our ears. Somewhere along the line, we stop understanding the true needs of our children.

First, we’ll tune out.

Then, second, we’ll look the other way, hoping they’ll gain some independence.

This never ends well. The trick to change things is to take it step by step. Try your best to actively learn what your child is feeling, then go from there.

Solution: The next time your child is whining, try talking to them. Ask questions like are you sad? Are you mad? Once you’ve determined the emotion they are feeling, then try to figure out why. Keep inquiries brief and if you still can’t understand simply try using empathy. You may notice, that the more you listen to them, the more they’ll listen to you.

What do you do when the kids don’t listen?

Lastly, before this article concludes let’s open up the comment section to discuss our best tips and tricks.  Additionally, I look forward to seeing everyone’s responses. Remember, comments stay open for 30 days, so if you’d like your chance to chime in, subscribe to Fullest Mom to stay current.

When your hands are full, it the best time to live your life to the fullest. Take care.


Fullest Mom