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When Your Child Doesn’t Seem To Listen To You!


I came downstairs to a half-eaten plate of food, chair not pushed in and the front door wide open as if someone had left in a hurry. The backpack was still in the corner, untouched. I could feel my blood pressure rising. Had I not been clear enough? Had I asked for too much? How can my child just ignore my simple request?

“Son, make sure you finish your dinner and complete your homework before you go out to play!” I thought I had seen him nod, or was that just my imagination? I looked out the window and sure enough, my son was outside riding his bike without a care in the world.

As parents, we have all experienced the extreme frustration that comes from our kids not listening to us. We feel disrespected, unheard and angry because of our children’s defiance. So, what are parents supposed to do? How do you get your children to listen in a way that’s effective, doesn’t involve losing your cool, and preserves your relationship with them? Have no fear; we are here to help you!


Say less.

Kids have a short attention span so be very clear and concise about the instructions you give them and lessen the lecture time so they can really focus. A rule for positive parenting is to effectively communicate your demands before your child tunes you out.


Try mindfulness meditation.

There are various mindfulness activities that can strengthen children’s ability to focus, calm their minds and bodies and also relieve stress. When children feel physically and emotionally stable, they are more likely to retain information that you say and are also more likely to respond and behave more favorably.


Make a connection.

Many times, we say things to our children while we are busy ourselves. Perhaps, we walk right past them listing their chores or we are busy on our phones while having an important conversation with them. To get kids to really listen to you, you have to get down to their level and make eye contact with them. Kneel or squat if you have to so you can establish a connection with them. You can even hold their hand or play with their hair because it will keep them in the moment there with you.


Find out why they aren’t listening.

There’s always a reason behind our children’s unresponsiveness. Find out why they aren’t listening; is it because they have unmet needs such as hunger, sleepiness; or are they needing more attention from you; or is there some stress that you are unaware of; or do they feel powerless and unheard themselves. It is important to find out why they aren’t listening!


Use positive language.

Negative commands such as ‘don’t do this’, ‘don’t touch that’ can be confusing and challenging for children to follow. Instead of using these, try telling them what they can do such as “please sit like this” instead of ‘don’t sit like that. And, whenever you can yes to your children, do it! When you start saying yes more, you will see a sudden shift in your child’s behavior and listening skills.


What You Can Do Next?

1. Subscribe to our Newsletter

Get the latest information for parenting tips to help you create happier families. Plus, when you subscribe, I’ll also send you a copy of our FREE Survival Guide To Bring Balance and Calm Back To Your Home. Just be sure to add us to your safe sender’s list. tenille@emotionalliteracyacademy.com and keep an eye on your junk box in case it lands there.

2. Register for my FREE Training (for children 5 – 9yrs)

Register for my free training, ‘How To Bring Peace and Calm To Your Home & Help Support Your Child’s Emotions Without Resorting To Yelling”.

I will support you with some easy tips to help you and your family, as well as provide you with some potential solutions in a free strategy session.

You will get some great information but also if there is a fit you will be offered a spot in our Masterclass 6 Month Program.




Internationally Recognised Emotional Literacy & Mindfulness Expert Tenille Bentley is the founder of The Emotional Literacy and Mindfulness Academy and the author of the children’s emotional literacy books with Jazzy and Pinky and The Energy Ball. Giving children a wonderful introduction to understanding their emotions and what to do with them.

Tenille has been featured on Channel 9 News and other major outlets. Her work has been recognized in the community by The Governor of Western Australia, The Prime Minister of Australia, and Australian Financial Review.

As a child, she experienced severe anxiety and emotional traumas as well as bullying which left her feeling isolated and unable to understand why she was feeling the way she did. As an adult, this impacted her ability to make healthy decisions because she didn’t have the tools to understand her emotions.

This is why she is passionate about equipping parents with the tools to support their children to make better decisions in life and healthy ones to help support and create a balanced home life.