Why Doesn't My Child Listen to Me?

If you've noticed that your child doesn't listen to you, then don't miss out on why this might happen and what you can do about it.
Why Doesn't My Child Listen to Me?

Last update: 08 August, 2021

Many parents complain and ask themselves “Why doesn’t my child listen to me? But do children really not pay attention to their parents or is it that these parents don’t know how to address their little ones so that they pay attention to them? Most of the time, this “selective listening” has more to do with poor communication than with children’s disobedience or passivity.

Put yourself in the situation: You ask your child to do something and they ignore you, don’t listen to you, or simply say no. You ask them to do something else and they don’t listen to you. So, you ask them in another way and they refuse again. Then, you raise your voice, and again, they refuse. Finally, you try to bribe them only to get the same results… In the end, there ends up being an argument that leads to a conflict in the home that’s completely unnecessary and avoidable.

Why doesn’t my child listen to me?

He may not listen to you for different reasons:

  • They don’t understand what you’re asking them to do.
  • They’re don’t listen to you properly.
  • You talk to him at a distance.
  • Your communication isn’t fluid.
  • There’s an emotional problem.
A child reading a book while ignoring his father's requests.

The reasons can be many and varied, and you need to know what’s going on with your child that makes them not want to pay attention to you or ignore you involuntarily.

In order for this situation to change, you need to change the way you communicate with your child. And for that, you’ll have to change some things. Keep reading to find out what we are talking about.

Change your discipline technique

There’ll come a time when you’ll need to change the discipline you use to communicate with your children, because you currently do it through threats, punishments, or yelling. You’ll have to focus on practicing respectful discipline toward your little ones, have realistic and appropriate expectations for their age and, above all, guide them in their growth and personal development.

You need to focus on being patient, compassionate, and conscientious. Focusing on setting boundaries and inspiring your children to be better and do better, while you work to set a great example for them is the best way to achieve this.

My child doesn’t listen to me: What you can do

Next, we’re going to give you some tips on what to do when your child doesn’t listen to you. This way, instead of losing your temper when it happens to you, it’s better to focus on how to react correctly so that communication with your child is correct. This will also help you to enjoy more harmony at home and enjoy a better relationship with your kids.

Tell him what you expect of them

This translates into telling your child what you want them to do at any given moment so that they’ll know what you expect from them in concrete terms. One of the biggest mistakes parents make is giving negative commands to their children, such as “Stop running!” or “Don’t touch that!”, etc.

In this regard, what’s important is to give positive instructions, such as “Walk, please.” Other examples include, instead of saying “Stop hitting your sister,” say “Use gentle hands when touching your sister,” and, instead of saying “Stop throwing the ball,” say “Keep the ball still in your hand, please.”

Give clear and concise commands

It’s difficult for children to follow a set of instructions. To communicate at their developmental level, give your child only one command at a time to focus on. For example, you can say “Please pick up your shoes.” Then, when they return, say “Please put on your shoes.”

A messy bedroom.

Make listening to you into a fun activity

Play’s how children learn, connect, bond, and communicate. So you can make your requests in the form of a game, a race, or a song, especially if your kids are already engrossed in a game.

For example, imagine that your toy box is a basketball hoop and toss soft toys into it. Keep track of points and see if you can beat the previous day’s score.

To find their shoes, tell your child to imagine they’re on an expedition looking for a monster with his shoes. To get ready for bedtime, pretend you’re a silly babysitter with a funny voice that will tickle them they don’t go to bed right away.

Empathize with your child to get them to listen to you

We parents tend to talk to our children in ways we wouldn’t want them to talk to us. That is, how would you feel if someone kept demanding you to stop doing what you were doing, something that was really fun and important to you, so you could do something else you don’t like? Does that sound respectful to you?

Instead of saying “I told you to do it now, why don’t you ever listen to me or do what I say?”, empathize by saying something like “I can see that you’re very busy right now and I don’t want to interrupt your fun, but I need to ask you to put your shoes away. Would you rather do it now so you can get right back to what you’re doing, or finish doing that in the next five minutes so you can do it then?”.

With all of this in mind, you’ll find that communicating with your child will now be much easier. Communication will be a strong point between you and, in addition, conflicts at home will be considerably reduced. And the best thing is that you’ll never again have to ask yourself “why doesn’t my child listen to me?”.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Ramos-Paíl, R. (2015) Niños desobedientes, padres desesperados: El método para que tu hijo te haga caso a la primera. Editorial: Debolsillo Clave.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.