Teach Your Child to Listen

At home, at school, on the street, in the market, in short almost everywhere, children who do not do what their parents say, protest, cry and shout, and parents who try to persuade them, beg, get angry and even use physical violence are frequently encountered.

* Why do children not listen?

Especially at the age of 2, the child tries to be an independent individual, while these efforts reach their peak at the age of 3-4, he tries to do what he knows and wants instead of doing what the adult says. The main reason for this behavior is that the child wants to feel as important and strong as his/her parents and to be “replaced”.

In addition to the desire for independence, parental attitudes play an important role in disobedience behavior. Parents unconsciously lead their children to be naughty. They do this by being positive about unwanted behavior, giving mixed messages, or having unreasonable expectations. Irrational expectations often result from parents ignoring their children’s developmental maturity when giving instructions. Expecting a 3-4 year old child to behave “behavior” when a guest comes or visits is a situation where developmental maturity is ignored. Instead of telling a child of this age to “behave”, it would be a more appropriate attitude to explain which behaviors are appropriate and which are not, and to have materials that will distract the child.

The parents think they are communicating well with the child, but in reality they confuse the child with their explanations while trying to maintain constant control. Due to the lack of attention span and the inadequacy of their mental skills to understand abstract concepts, children may have difficulty in listening to, remembering and understanding the explanations of their parents. For this reason, instead of explaining too much, the child should be explained briefly and simply what is appropriate and what is not.

The use of physical punishment in the face of unwanted behavior also increases the disobedience behavior. Punishment is not an effective tool for teaching children how to behave. A rule should be set against undesirable behaviors that the whole family will abide by, and the consequences that will be encountered in case of breaking the rule should be stated.

Most behavioral problems are rooted in instability and a lack of control. Children’s behavior indicates stability or instability in the family. The child feels a stressful situation at home and is uncomfortable with it. If he cannot gain a sense of trust with positive attention, he tries to attract attention with his mischief. It is better for the child to be attracted to negative behaviors than to no attention at all.

Another reason for disobedience is that the child imitates the behavior of others. Children especially tend to pick up on the negative behaviors of other children right away. The child tries to show himself and become popular by imitating inappropriate behavior. Highlighting the behaviors liked by the child and stating that inappropriate behaviors are not accepted solves this problem.

Some children consciously do not listen to what the adult says, they do what they want even though they know that they will be punished. Behavior can be resolved with clear boundaries, clear results, and continued practice.

Being separated from the mother is also one of the situations that cause disobedience behavior. Even though the child of a working mother knows that the mother will go to work and return in the evening, she does not want this. He is angry that his mother is gone. When the mother returns home, she is happy that she has returned home, but is also angry that she left him. That’s why she resists doing what her mother says.

*What can parents do?

  1. Do not miss the love. When your child doesn’t obey, state that you don’t like his behavior, not himself. In the face of the reaction of the parents, the child questions love. When it is stated that what is disliked is not himself, but his behavior, and the message is given to the child that he is loved unconditionally, the child does not doubt the love of the parents.

  2. Listen to your child. When the parents listen to the child, the child also gains the listening behavior. When the child tries to tell you something, stop your work and try to listen. In cases where this is not possible, state that you want to listen to him only after you are done.

  3. Make sure that boundaries and rules are clear and applicable to the whole family. Having rules that apply to all family members, giving clear information to the child about what he can and cannot do, setting limits will reduce inappropriate behaviors.

  4. Make time for physical activities. Do physical activities with your child that will drain his energy. In this way, you will ensure that the child is less active in the evenings and feels good by increasing the endorphin level.

  5. Increase positive behavior by seeing and rewarding positive behaviors. When children think that they cannot get attention with their positive behaviors, they try to get attention by disobeying and misbehaving. Praising positive behaviors reduces negative behaviors and motivates the child to show positive behavior again.

  6. Avoid corporal punishment. Punishment can temporarily prevent an undesirable behavior. However, it should not be forgotten that it may cause anger accumulation in the child and inappropriate behaviors may increase. The most appropriate punishment for children this age may be to deprive them of something they love for a short time or to sit in a chair for 3-4 minutes and wait for them to calm down.

  7. Don’t expect him to do things he’s not ready for. Knowing the child’s capacity, abilities, and age-related developmental characteristics is important in assessing whether expectations are realistic.

  8. Clearly communicate your expectations. Instead of abstract and general concepts, explain what you expect from the child by making short, simple and concrete explanations and what the result will be if he does not follow the rules.

  9. Assign responsibilities appropriate to his age and development. You can teach the child to help you by giving them simple tasks to do, thus teaching them to obey.

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