Teaching children to not listen

Children who don’t listen often have parents who have unintentionally taught them not to listen. How do parents teach their kids to not listen? Parents reinforce not listening whenever they ask their child to do something but then don’t immediately follow through when the child ignores the request.

For example, a mom and 8-year-old daughter were out for a walk. There was a grassy bank next to the sidewalk and the girl walked up on the hill. The mom told her “Don’t walk in the wet grass!” The girl continued walking along the hill for another minute or two before the mom continued “I asked you to get off the wet grass!” The girl still didn’t respond and so the mom, now irritated, began counting “That’s 1, that’s 2”, before she hit “3” the girl was back on the sidewalk.

This girl typically waits until her parents are angry before she pays attention to their requests. Can you see why she has learned she doesn’t have to listen the first time?

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