February 17, 2022
As a parent, it can be frustrating when your child appears not to be listening, or worse yet, seems to outright ignore you. You may wonder what you’re doing wrong or if your child is particularly rebellious. But the truth is, there are several reasons why kids don’t listen.
Regardless of the challenges you’re experiencing when it comes to your child’s listening skills, it helps to understand a few of the reasons behind their inability to listen. It’s also beneficial to have a few strategies up your sleeve that will help you build better listening skills in your kids.
Getting a reluctant child to listen can be overwhelming at times for parents. It’s common to view listening behaviors as a form of disrespect but more often than not, it’s probably about something much more basic. Sometimes kids struggle to listen because your messages are too long, or they view what you are saying as a criticism or complaint. Listening also can be challenging if your messages are too complicated for your child to comprehend.
Other times, failing to listen or displaying an inability to focus is even tied to more serious issues such as hearing loss, an auditory processing issue, or mental health disorder. But more often, failing to listen effectively is more about your child’s social development than about anything else. As early as the toddler years, some children may deliberately misbehave to see how parents and caregivers react.
Even knowing that a child’s inability to listen is most likely developmental, it still can be unnerving when you feel like playtime, the television, or video games are more important than what you have to say.
When it comes to teaching kids to be good listeners, it’s important to be patient and consistent in your approach. Learning this skill takes time, especially for young children. To help your child become a better listener, here are some strategies you can try.
Parents often want to talk and be listened to immediately when they bring up a topic. But it can be helpful to make sure that you are choosing a time when the child is ready to listen. Right in the middle of a game or during another conversation might not be as effective as when less is going on around them.
One thing you can do when the kids are distracted during a conversation is to ask them to repeat what was said so that you know that the message was received.
Teaching your child this foundational skill is the first step in teaching them to be good listeners at home, with others, and at school. So, when you do have your communication time, ask them to tell you what they heard. Telling it back to you will also make the message easier for younger children to remember. Try not to scold them if they struggle, but patiently repeat what was said. Eventually, this skill will become second nature to them.
Kids learn best when the messages they receive are consistent. So, make sure your expectations regarding listening behavior are clearly and consistently communicated. Your child should know what is expected and be working toward becoming a more active listener.
While it’s important to be patient, you don’t want to give your child mixed signals about the importance of listening. By consistently interacting with them and communicating your expectations, you will eventually begin to see positive changes in their listening skills.
Be creative about reinforcing your child’s listening skills when they get it right. Praise your child when they display good listening skills or use small rewards in order to encourage good listening. Offering a small reward or incentive can help their listening behavior improve.
Modeling good family communication patterns and active listening can do several things to encourage your child to listen. First, you show them respect when you make time to listen to their concerns, and it’s easier for them to show respect back when they feel respected. They will mimic your listening behaviors as they learn more about interpersonal communications. Take the time to talk when they are ready, and they will be more likely to respond to you when you need them to listen.
Family communication can be one of the toughest issues parents have to deal with. Teaching your child to become a good listener takes time, patience, and consistency. At Les Enfants your child will learn the importance of listening and communicating with others. These vital life skills will not only benefit them in later education but also for the rest of their lives.