Why won't my child listen?!

Child not listening? I got you covered!

There are few things more stressful than a kid that refuses to listen. In this post I will be sharing why, oh why, your kiddo is no longer listening.

Tell me if this sounds familiar…

“Honey, do you want to take a bath now?”
“You know bath time is after dinner.”
“It’s time to take a bath.”
“NO!” *runs away laughing adding to the impending danger they will be unconsciously self inflicting as mummy’s temper boils over.
“Get in the bath right now!”
“So help me God, go to the bathroom! Now!”
“Bath or no TV this week!”
*screams and falls to the floor*


Who’s with me??

Parents, grandparents, teachers, nannies! We’ve all been there. Do children TRY to drive us to homicidal thoughts!? What is the deal??

Okay, well, I’m glad you asked.

Behaviour studies have shown, time and time again, that children do what they do for a reason. And, guess what? It ain’t to make us crazy! (Even though it feels like it.)

Kids act out in order to get their needs met.

Usually those needs include connection, empowerment and confidence.

  • Connection

Can you think of someone you really don’t like? I mean, seriously, you can’t stand hearing their voice. When you hear them talking you can’t help but lean away… (Haha! I must sound like the rudest person. Please tell me this ain’t just me!) When I’m around someone I do not like I avoid them like the plague. I avoid people to the point that I have to pretend I have something on my shirt. Like, I can come up with reasons to not make eye contact (which inevitably leads to a painful conversation) for as long as necessary. I’m committed like that.

Studies have shown that we are aversive to people that are not like us. I know, this sounds so vain! But, it’s true. It’s in our nature (See? Not my fault! Science says so!)

So, what does this mean for kids?

Kids like people that are like them. Same as adults. For a child to feel disconnected, they simply need to NOT feel like they have anything in common with you. That isn’t too hard to accomplish… This means, kiddos require intentional pairing in order to feel connected.

If you haven’t taken any time this afternoon to genuinely connect with your child or classroom, then chances are pretty good that they will be less likely to listen to you when the time comes.

  • Empowerment

Man, oh man. Choices are the bomb. I think it’s easy to forget what it was like when we were living at home and following house rules. It was so hard not having many choices! I never got to decide when my curfew was or what was in the fridge.

The brain is a pretty intense organ. It is always seeking stimulation and self improvement. When we deprive it of these avenues, it kicks up a fuss. That “fuss” is empowering. Self control and independence are key to healthy brain development.

What happens when one brain tries to control another?

I think we have all witnessed it…

“You can’t tell me what to do!”

“No, I WON’T!”

“Stop bossing me around.”

The brain feeling out of control responds with counter coercion. Oh yes, children crave control.

Ironically, they’re absolutely right! No one has control over you but you.

Can we just sit here and let that sink in?

Cause this is where it’s at! No one can control another person. Unless they are physically, hand over hand, puppeteering someone, they cannot control another person.

This definitely includes us adults. We’re always trying to manipulate kiddos into doing what we need them to do. When they kick up a fuss, it’s entirely their fault...

“He’s always so rude!”

“She never listens!”

*insert “problem child”, “terrible two’s” and all the other nicknames and labels we give to children that are entirely blameless.

They’re blameless because their brains are doing exactly what they’re supposed to do. We strip them of their right to control their own bodies and then toss on the blame when challenging behaviours arise. (I know, I know! This is getting heavy! But, we have to break this down if we want to create real change.)

  • Confidence

Moving on before someone sends me hate mail! Let’s take a quick look at confidence. Kids begin developing confidence by knowing what’s expected of them and exploring various avenues to get there.

This is where problem solving and consistency come in.

Kids are clever. They are little scientists seeking boundaries and limitations in order to break through and reach new heights.

...New heights like climbing on the counter and drinking your tanning lotion. Woo!

Okay, so, they’re challenging lil rascals, but heck! They’re incredible too. It’s tricky finding that balance between a healthy routine and having rigid rules that evoke defiance. BUT, it is possible.

So, who’s ready for the good news?? I know I am!

I’m about to blow your mind with just how easy it is to solve all of these insurmountable problems. Go here to learn FIVE steps to listening in under a minute!

You heard me right! Go read it and watch the magic happen.

Your behaviour guide and coach, Stephanie Wicker-Campbell, has been supporting families just like yours for almost fifteen years! Teaching special needs children and studying early intensive behaviour intervention for over six years laid the foundation for her work with Simply Kids. Grounded in behaviour science, Stephanie's passion for counselling and developmental psychology play a big role in her coaching programs. Defining success by the progress of her clients, her goal is to no longer be needed. So, get in touch and work her out of a job!

It's now easier than ever to book a session with our behaviour expert!

Stephanie Wicker