Children don’t listen to you? Here are three possible reasons why (and how to fix it!)
Guest post by Brittany of Equipping Godly Women
Wouldn’t it be great if our children always listened to us the first time? And cheerfully to boot?
While cheerful obedience every. single. time. may be a little much to ask (they are human after all!), the truth is that you can receive far more cooperation when you know why your children are misbehaving in the first place.
As strange as your children’s behavior may seem sometimes, children rarely act a certain way without a reason. Identify what that reason is, find a way to change it, and you can literally watch your children’s behavior change overnight!
Today, I’m sharing three of the most common reasons your children misbehave.
For more in-depth parenting advice, be sure to check out my book, TEACH Your Children How to Behave. An encouraging and highly practical guide, it will show you step-by-step exactly what you need to do to raise well-behaved children you’ll be proud to parent.
1. They Don’t Know (or Don’t Remember) What You Expect
Before you get angry at your children for not listening, take a second to think: Did you tell them exactly how you expect them to behave?
The truth is, children don’t automatically know exactly what we expect of them unless we explicitly tell them. Even if the rules seem obvious to you, they truly aren’t to children who are still learning how the world works.
Whether you want your children to walk in the store, use quiet voices in the library, keep their hands to themselves or sit quietly in church, you have to tell them — preferably in advance and in detail.
2. They Don’t Believe You’ll Follow Through with Meaningful Consequences
Of course, there are plenty of times in which your children know exactly what you expect, and yet they still make the wrong choice anyway!
When this happens, the problem is probably that they aren’t worried about any potential consequences for their actions.
- Perhaps you haven’t told them in advance what the consequences will be, so they aren’t aware there will be any.
- Perhaps you did tell them, but it was a while ago or they’re distracted, so they’ve already forgotten.
- Perhaps you’ve threatened and then not followed through in the past, so they don’t believe you’ll follow through this time either.
- Perhaps the consequences aren’t meaningful enough, so your children think misbehaving will be “worth it.”
You can solve this type of behavior by choosing the right consequences, giving only one warning, and then confidently following through every time.
3. You’ve Taught Them Not to Listen
Honestly, one of the most common reasons your children don’t listen to you is simply because you’ve taught them not to! Typically, this is by making one or more of the Common Parenting Mistakes You Need to Stop Making Now.
- Do you give in when your children whine? (Maybe by making a second dinner or buying a new toy?) You’re teaching your children that whining works and encouraging them to do more of it.
- Do you threaten consequences and then not follow through? (“If you don’t eat your dinner, we’ll have to call grandma and tell her we’re not coming…” for example.) You’re teaching your children to let your warnings to go in one ear and out the other – you aren’t going to follow through on them anyway.
- Do you have a difficult time telling your children “no?” (and sticking with it?) You’re teaching your children that they’re in charge and what they say goes.
Recognize yourself in any of these examples? No need to feel like a failure as a mom. We ALL have room for improvement in one area or another.
But the good news is, once you identify exactly why your children are behaving the way they are, teaching your children how to behave properly suddenly becomes much, much easier!
And, if you think you could really benefit from a step-by-step plan to help you parent your children effectively, don’t forget to check out my book, TEACH Your Children How to Behave.
With just the right mix of encouragement and super practical tips and strategies, TEACH Your Children to Behave will show you how to:
- Set reasonable expectations for your children’s unique ages, personalities and ability levels.
- Prevent your children’s bad behavior BEFORE it starts.
- Choose consequences that REALLY work!
- Respond to 25 of the most common behavior problems parents deal with today–problems including arguing, hitting, lying, attitude problems, whining and more!
- TEACH your children how to make better choices in the future so you aren’t repeating yourself again and again.
Do you ever struggle to get your children to listen to you? Have you ever tried to determine why they are misbehaving?
Images from Lightstock.com and Pixabay.com
It’s been more than seven years now since Brittany traded in her teaching degree for a crash course in mothering in the trenches. Now she loves using everything she’s learned along the way to help other Christian wives and mothers grow in their faith and families as well. For more from Brittany, be sure to visit her site, EquippingGodlyWomen.com, where she regularly shares helpful and encouraging posts designed to help you be the amazing woman God created you to be.