Children don't listen - FamilyEducation
Children don't listen
12/16/2007 at 19:03 PM

Hi there,

I am new here and need loads of help. I have 2 children, a 6 1/2 year old daughter and a 3 1/2 year old son. I am married and my husband is my children's father.

My problem is that my children walk all over me. Neither of them listen to a thing I say. I really don't know what to do. I feel like I am screaming all the time. I have spanked them on the behind on occasion however I do not make that a common practice. My main form of discipline is yelling.

Does anyone have any advice at all. I feel very down and very much like I am failing viciously.

Just a little background, we do express our love for each other and we hug a lot. We do things as a family and my husband and I are there everyday for them. He works from home and I work 2 days a week. They are both in school and never with a babysitter or anything. This behavior is not 24 hours a day, but it is enough that I am feeling totally lost.

Any advice would be so greatly appreciated.


I understand your feeling very well.  I was there and I get back in there once in a while.  I have 4 children and they are 14, 12, 11 & 6.  Let me tell you my story.  When my oldest son was about 2, I was a new mom and didn't know anything much.  I spent all day with him and everything seemed to be fine.  He had some strange habit and it was to get on coffee table.  I didn't pay too much attention and let him do that.  Then I visited my friend.  He didn't know he can't do things he does at home in my friend's house!  So he got up on the coffee table in her living room.  I didn't know what to do.  He had another habit.  When we go to someone's house, he wants to take something home like stuffed animals.  Most of my friend was fine with that and  they said, "Bring it back next time."  So I didn't try hard to correct him.  Then one day, one friend wouldn't let him take stuffed animal home!  It's not her fault.  In each cace, what I had to do is get serious and really determined that I can't let him do that.  I was pretty firm and didn't care even if he cried. Funny thing is once I made up my mind, he obeyed me.  Even 2 years old knows if you really mean it or not.  And up to this day, it works with my teenagers.  When I have to confront with them, first I talked to myself and say in my mind, "I really mean it.  I'm not going to budge." 

I think yelling doesn't work so well.  I did that a lot and came to conclusion that it doesn't work.  I think when you're dealing with kid's desipline, you need to take your emotion away.  Say what you want them to do firmly but not emotionally and deal with them with consequence. 


  Kimiyo is right on the money on this one. You can yell and scream all day, but the kids will become immune to it after time. How you carry yourself and consistency are the keys. Once you make the decision in your own mind, stick with it. Too many parents these days try and reason with their children. When I correct my children or tell them what I expect of them I do not use the words please, or thank you. I do not want them to become confused and think I am asking. Try doing what Kimiyo suggested. I think she gave very good advice.


You've gotten some very good advice already here.  I'd add, too, that it's helpful to decide in advance what you really expect from you children.  What behaviors are important to you, and what are you willing to put up with.  Once you know where your boundaries are, it's much easier (and more effective) to discipline your children.  Also, the more you can set general goals for your children's behavior, the more easily you can begin to see ways to help them meet those goals.  

Part of disciplining your child is disciplining yourself enough to know how your interaction with your child fits into a larger scheme of childrearing.  

Good luck--and know that because you're asking these questions now, you'll really WILL figure it out.  It just takes practice.

For example, you may want your child to 


I really great book that I recommend  is : 1-2-3 Magic "Effective Discipline for Children 2-12" by Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D


i agree with the advice already given.  something that struck me was that you said "My main form of discipline is yelling."  one thing that helps me to understand my children better and discipline effectively is to keep in mind that yelling is not discipline.  nor is threatening punishment or consequences.  as an adult, if someone yelled at me, it would be scary and serious, and i would react immediately.  however, a child will respond to the consequences of his actions better than the threat of a consequence.  in other words, yelling at your child (and we've all done it!) is not as unpleasant to him as it would be if someone were yelling at you.  what would be unpleasant to him would be to remove something he values, such as a toy, or his time with his friends, or his free time to play.  some (not all) children find it unpleasant to receive punishment as well (like a spanking).  every child is different and you know your own child best.  if you never yell, and all of a sudden you do, it may be effective.  but if you raise your voice regularly, it loses significance.  when i find myself becoming upset or angry with my children, i have started to talk very quietly instead of yelling.  i go to them rather than calling them to me, i get down at their level, i ask them to look at me (sometimes several times before they do), and then i quietly give them instructions.  they have learned that i mean business if i'm talking this way, and have been more receptive than when i yell at them.


I too have been having this problem with my children. I am a single parent, their father isnt really in the picture, and when he is, is never any help at all. I too feel like i am yelling all the time. My kids dont listen, and they walk around the house acting like the own the place. I feel really exhausted and overwhelmed by it all. Before reading all the responses i was going to ask for some advice as well. Now however, i have read the responses and i have some good ideas. If anyone wants to add to what i have said though, it would still be appreciated. Thank you.