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How to Punish a Kid That's Not Listening

by Tiffany Raiford, studioD

When your child breaks the rules by not listening to you, come up with a way to discipline him to change this behavior. Ignoring your requests for help or failing to listen to your directions are both examples of disrespectful behaviors you need to discourage. Using effective discipline helps to teach your child the importance of listening, following the rules and respecting authority.

Rely on natural consequences to punish your child, advises KidsHealth. When your child doesn’t listen to you when you tell him it’s time to do his homework and he gets a bad grade, that’s his punishment. Experiencing the disappointment of his teacher and other possible consequences associated with bad grades, such as being removed from a sports team for not meeting the required academic requirements or being denied recess or free time in class, often teaches him a lesson more than a lecture from you.

Take away your child’s favorite privilege, advises American Academy of Pediatrics. If your child likes to ride her bike with her friends in the afternoons, take that privilege away from her when she doesn’t listen. She is more likely to listen to you in the future when she is aware that ignoring you will result in the loss of something she enjoys.

Place your child in time-out, advises the American Academy of Pediatrics. This is a punishment that typically works best with toddlers and preschoolers, but it is also effective in older children. The recommended rule of thumb is that you place your child in time-out for one minute per year of age. For example, if your child is 8 years old, time-out should last eight minutes.

Threaten your child with consequences you are actually going to enforce, advises KidsHealth. If your child isn’t listening to you when you ask him to stop throwing the ball in the house, don’t tell him that you’re going to ground him for the rest of his life. You can’t actually ground him for the rest of his life, which means you only lose credibility when you tell him you will and don’t follow through.

Stick to your decision to enforce the consequences and don’t give in, no matter what your child does. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, if your child whines, cries, begs or screams at you until you give in, she starts to learn that this behavior will get her what she wants in the future, which only reinforces her bad behavior.

About the Author

Tiffany Raiford has several years of experience writing freelance. Her writing focuses primarily on articles relating to parenting, pregnancy and travel. Raiford is a graduate of Saint Petersburg College in Florida.

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