My kids don’t listen!


 My kids don’t listen…

I am sure is something LOTS of parents say, to themselves, their spouses/partners, other parents, friends, and occasionally, if you are me, to any random cat that happens to be within earshot in the house… I have even phoned my OWN father and moaned about it, of course he’s sympathetic, but with a touch of “now you know what your mother and I felt like, all those years ago” in his tone! 🙂

I happened upon this rather interesting article, from the BBC on why children don’t listen, especially when they are concentrating on other things, like TV, reading, playing…

Sound familiar?

I think if I had to express my frustration about parenting, it would be that my 7 year old is THE most untidy person I know, and that listening is a skill, that sometimes I wonder if my children will ever grasp.

The article is interesting.

“According to Prof Nilli Lavie, from University College London’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, children have much less peripheral awareness than adults.

“Parents and carers should know that even focusing on something simple will make children less aware of their surroundings, compared to adults.

“For example, a child trying to zip up their coat while crossing the road may not be able to notice oncoming traffic, whereas a developed adult mind would have no problem with this.

“The capacity for awareness outside the focus of attention develops with age, so younger children are at higher risk of inattentional blindness.”

I am not sure I fully agree, because I have been in school, with a room full of 7 year olds, a nursery class full of preschoolers, and also, looked after and worked with children (not my own) for a long time. I have seen children show that they can listen, and respond. I think that’s why I get so frustrated, because when I see the class teacher address a child, who is mid an activity, and they respond, yet at home, I have to ask repeatedly, and occasionally raise my voice or get a bit twitchy, when simple requests like “please stop playing on the Kindle and brush your teeth”, or “please turn the tv off, it’s time to get ready” are ignored. I actually tried an experiment the other day, when a certain small boy was not listening to my request to put his shoes on and get ready. I changed tactics and called out “who would like to share this piece of chocolate I am eating?” All of a sudden, I had his full attention (and before you ask, yes I was eating chocolate, and yes, I did share it, AFTER he put his shoes on and was ready to go, bribery maybe, but better than getting cross and yelling) So he can listen, when he wants to, and the same, would probably work, with the 7 year old too.

Can children listen, or is this professor right and we have set too high an expectation on our children and we should have more tolerance and adjust for their “innatentional blindness” as she calls it? How do you get your children to listen and co operate? Or do you, like me get frustrated and talk to the cats instead?



Posted in Family Life and Parenting.

One Comment

  1. Hi Karen,
    Emily, I have noticed, is a very tidy with her person. She always looks so neat to me anyway! Maybe complimenting that abundantly will encourage her to extend her personal tidiness to other things…
    I am not sure about children’s ‘inattentional blindness’, but I do know the only reason people do anything is because they want to, and the trick is to find their desire, hence your success with Matthew and chocolate. This works for adults and children. If you don’t get a response, then think about how you can match what you want to what they want. They will surely reply if they think they are missing out otherwise. It’s like Mary Poppins’ tidying up game… If only we could just snap our fingers!

    See you Thursday!
    C x

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