How to stay calm when your Kids Won’t Listen :: Ask Me Anything Series

How to stay calm when your Kids Won’t Listen :: Ask Me Anything Series

If you have a question, head over to this post and Ask Me Anything.

While you ‘re there, have a read of the questions already asked and if you are also keen to see this explored here on the blog, just like the comment (by tapping the little love heart) to up-vote it.

Here is a question I was asked that was a great one, and it has a two part answer.

The Question

When your little one is not listening, how do you curb that rising urge to 🤯😤😡

Thanks to @reusableplanet for this excellent and I’m sure highly relatable question.

So Why Don’t Kids Listen?

So the first hot tip I’ll give you is to suggest a book called “How to Talk so Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk” by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish. This book has sold millions of copies, and you’ll see why when I tell you a bit more about it later in the post.

To answer your question directly, however, we need to look at ourselves and what we bring to our parenting experience a little more closely. It is a very personal thing why another person ignoring us can trigger upset, anger, or frustration (or a very red face as your emoji suggests above, @reusableplanet!). Add to that the pressures of timetables, school start times, work commitments and just general mental load and we can feel the ticking time bomb effects of it all. An explosion is immiment.

So what to do? Well, firstly, understand which moments tend to create these bottlenecks and try and mitigate some of the pressures. For example, perhaps it means establishing a bit of a routine in the morning before school that is supported by preparatory actions the night before – earlier bedtimes, uniforms laid out, lunches made that kind of thing. Even if you teach your kids (depending on their ages) to help with these jobs to take the pressure off you, that can be a huge help. I remember when I realised that 7 year olds can actually go to cupboards and get things and put them in lunch boxes I felt silly for not realising earlier!

Help Them Develop the Skills They Need

You can also build in incentives for kids to listen to you. Help them understand that you are have something to say that is of value to them. Use little tricks like ‘oh ok then, I was going to offer you a fruit salad but I guess if you’re not interested I’ll just go have some for myself’. You’d be amazing how much they are actually hearing.

Yesterday I taught my three-year-old the importance of taking turns to talk one at a time instead of interrupting (after an escalating shouting match in the car). I explained how waiting for your turn means that we can all hear each other and get the information we need, otherwise nobody hears anything. He totally understood. I mean, I may have to remind him about 25 times but nonetheless it will lead to better communication.

It’s good to remember that if your child is having difficulty with something and demanding your attention, or ignoring your advice, it is usually because they have a problem they don’t know how to solve. Help them solve the problem, and things will get easier.

Pick your battles, and your moments

I know it sounds obvious but I include this here because I forget it all the time! You don’t have to solve every problem every single time. Sometimes it’s more than ok to just agree and move along. Yes, son. No problem, love. That sort of thing. It also could just buy us some time to take a breathe, slow down, tune into the senses – and the bigger picture – and feel less riled up about it all. Mum-sanity is important, after all.

Calm is over-rated

We aren’t robots. So if you’re feelings are rising, let the kids know. Be as kind to yourself as you would be to them, or to a close friend in those moment. Go gently. Take a moment outside. Breathe. Communicate your feelings and model what it’s like to have a strong, ‘negative’ feeling and weather the storm. Kids need to know how to do that too. If you say you need a minute, you also give them permission to do the same when they need to.

Consider your platform

If you are quick to rise to anger and it doesn’t seem to abate, consider getting some help from a naturopath or a holistic GP. Postnatal depletion or trauma following – even minor – complications from pregnancy, birth and infancy can occur all too frequently and are often undetected and unrecognised. The effects of these can last up to ten years after a child is born. It’s worth looking into getting the right supplements, rest or health regimen wherever possible.

This has been a game-changer for me. I take supplements and also train a martial art to keep myself balanced. My husband literally says to my lead instructor, thank you for keeping my wife happy… because he knows how pissed off I was all the time before I started training regularly and taking care of myself.


There certainly is a lot to think about above so please do comment below if you need any further resources on any of it, I’m happy to fill you in.

Thanks for the great question @reusableplanet!

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Alena Turley is a founder, mentor, ethical content creator and mother of three based on Sydney's Northern Beaches. She is equal parts loved and fired up to support mums in making deep and lasting changes inside and out. We at the Soul Mama Hub acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands upon which we live, learn and create and invite you to feel deeply and tread lightly.

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