What To Do When Your Kids Refuse To Listen

Have you ever been in the heat of the moment when you’ve asked your son/daughter to do something and they flat out refuse to listen? They refuse to cooperate or do what you need them to do? 

If you can relate than I bet you’re starting to sweat right about now. Your heart is pounding a bit faster and your blood is rising. Recalling these moments where your kids refuse to listen usually brings up negative feelings.

When your kids refuse to listen…

When your kids refuse to listen, maybe you end up yelling and screaming. Maybe you try taking things away or sending them to their room? Up until this point, have any of your tactics worked? If you feel like you are completely lost and unsure what to do…keep reading!

Your Parenting Style Matters

When we want our kids to cooperate we need to be sure our parenting approach embodies mutual respect. Often times our parenting style over-powers or controls our kids. This is known as the Authoritarian Parenting Style. The problem with this approach is that it will only work for the short-term and it actually causes your kids to act out more.

In the moment, your kids might back down when you scream or yell. They might give in when you take away their phone or favorite toy. They might cry and break when you send them to their room or time out. But, if you want your kids to listen more and stop refusing, then you must alter your parenting approach. We need to use tools and strategies that focus on developing mutual respect with our kids.

Positive Discipline Parenting

When we focus on our approach and learn more skills and strategies to create positive discipline, you will notice your kids refusing to listen less. They will be more cooperative and overall easier to manage. They won’t feel overpowered and therefore, won’t feel the need to over power back. When your kids refuse to listen it’s because they are looking for more power and attention. These are your child’s emotional needs that must be met daily to avoid misbehaviors.

Create Opportunities For Choice

One-way to help fill your child’s power and attention needs are to offer respectful choices. Choices will help your child stop refusing to listen and it will increase cooperation. You can offer Proactive Choices throughout the day to help give them more control and power. These choices can be as simple as:

  • “Do you want the green or blue cup?”
  • “Do you want to do your homework before or after your shower?”
  • “Milk or water with your dinner?”
  • “Would you like to tidy up alone or would you like my help?”
  • “Would you like to have a shower or a bath?”

As you can see there are numerous choices you can give your children throughout the day. As you begin offering more choice, you will see your children listening more.

What To Do When Your Child Still Refuses To Listen

If you find yourself back in the hot spot where your child is refusing to listen, then it requires us to pull a different tool out of our parenting toolbox.  This is a great place to use Reactive Choices. Reactive choices are used when we are in a bind and need our kids to do something they’re refusing to do.

One type of Reactive Choice is to offer an “Either – Or” option for them.

Let’s look at Reactive Choices in action:

SCENARIO: it’s time to turn off the TV and go to school, but your child refuses to listen.

SOLUTION: you calmly state, in a very matter of fact tone, without emotion,

 “EITHER you turn off the television now OR you won’t have the opportunity to watch it after school. It’s your choice, you decide.”

This gives children a very fair chance to make a decision for themselves. You are not over-powering or controlling. You’re giving them the opportunity to make a choice they want to live with. You do not have to yell or scream to force them to listen or do something.

Practice Makes Better

Practice using Proactive and Reactive Choices as a way to help your children listen. If your child is refusing to listen or cooperate you need to check in and be sure you are meeting their emotional needs of power and attention, up front, in advance. This is how you can avoid negative behaviors. To help with this, start today, using your new parenting tool of proactive and reactive choices.

Refusing to listen doesn’t have to be your reality. It’s simply your child’s way of telling you they need their needs met. Start helping to meet their needs by using Positive Discipline and choice right now.

What’ choices can you give your kids? Share in the comments and I will get back to you!

PS. Everything is Fixable– Instantly download your copy of “CHOICES WITHIN LIMITS” and get your step-by-step plan on how to get your kids listening more!


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discipline, kids not listening, parenting


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