Why Kids Don’t Listen When You Say “No”

Don’t Allow Kids to Negotiate

In the book, Ignore It!: How Selectively Looking the Other Way Can Decrease Behavioral Problems and Increase Parenting Satisfaction author Catherine Pearlman explains that giving attention to children doesn’t necessarily mean happier and healthier kids. Selective ignoring bad, attention seeking behaviors helps minimize or eliminate the unwanted behaviors and increases appropriate behaviors by kids. Selective ignoring is not truly ignoring children, but rather not engaging with them when they misbehave. It’s essential to re-engage immediately when the undesirable behavior has ceased.

Nagging, whining, and negotiation by children are learned behaviors. When kids don’t listen to the word “No” it’s because the parents or caregivers are allowing them to negotiate. Negotiating with children never works because it becomes a battle of wills that never ends. Children think there is room for change because there is if you allow negotiation.

Once an adult gives in after saying “No” the kids learn their parents or nannies will cave if they persist to nag or negotiate long enough. Kids simply stall and delay and stall delay until they get what they want. Negotiating actually increases whining because one concession leads to another.

Instead of arguing or negotiating with the child when she doesn’t listen to you when you say, “No” ignore the child by not making eye contact and do not talk. After saying, “No,” turn your back, look busy doing something else, and don’t show you are annoyed or make sounds like you are annoyed.

Still monitor the child’s actions. You have to know when to reengage. Waiting for the moment the child stops whining.

Immediately happily and kindly reengage with the child when the whining or nagging has ended. Do not rehash the reasons why you ignored him or it will start the bad behavior again. Even if you are annoyed don’t show it. Be enthusiastic even if you have to fake it.

With consistency and persistence the child will learn you mean what you say, and say what you mean, when you say, “No.”

You can purchase this book in hard cover, as a paperback, for a kindle, or audible by clicking the links above or below.

Ignore It!: How Selectively Looking the Other Way Can Decrease Behavioral Problems and Increase Parenting Satisfaction

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