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She only listens when I yell - it seems

697 Views 8 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  shelbean91
This is my first post here but I wasn't sure where else to get some input.

DD turned 3 last month. Lately it seems that the only way that she will listen to me is for me to yell. This has been going on in varying amounts for the past 2 months or so. When she is doing something she is not supposed to do - anything from hurting her brother to grabbing things off the counter - I'll tell her a few times to stop and then she'll only stop when I finally yell. I don't want to yell. I don't want to get angry w/her. I enjoy her and her brother so much and feel so lucky to have them but sometimes I just want to be able to ask once or twice and actually be listened to. Are my expectations high? I know that she is having a hard time *righ now* because I just lost a baby last week and am still working through that. But what about all the other times? Thanks for your thoughts.
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My ds is going thru the same thing. Not all the time, but alot of the time. I think it's a few things (for my ds): it's "normal" for that age, i'm pg, it's like getting a big reaction (which we know they love
), sometimes he honestly does not hear me. He hears me, but he is so into what he is doing that it doesn't register. I always ask three times totally calm. This usually is the magic number. And I try to make sure that I have his attn each and every time I ask. I think it is asking too much to want a 3 yr old to listen all the time and to only have to ask once or twice. It would be fantastic! But, unlikely :LOL. Best wishes to you mama! Please take care of yourself
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What I was thinking when I read your OP, it seems that she only *obeys* when you yell? Or is it that she's not listenting to you at all when you use a normal voice?

I don't have any advice for you because I haven't had to deal wtih this yet. Do you have a plan of first request, second request + consequence, etc.?
Ds and I had this dynamic going for a little while when he first turned 3. It lasted until I realized that the reason it was happening is because I was expecting him to listen to my words when what he really needed was action.

3 is deceptive because their vocabulary typically expands, they communicate much better, but they're still not, IMO, ready to follow verbal direction with 100% (or even close) precision.

What helped was to include the words, but act. I asked once verbally. No response? I went over and remedied the situation myself, meanwhile telling him why. For instance, grabbing things off of the counter (first, I'd be inclined to move those things so they're out of her reach, but I understand that it's not always an option): "Dd, I can help you look at those things. Please don't grab them off the counter. They (or you) might get hurt." If there's no response, go over and physically stop her from grabbing them while saying the same thing. With hitting brother, I wouldn't even bother with the verbal. Just stop her (or remove brother) while telling her, "I can't allow you to hurt brother. You may touch him gently or not at all."

The problem with yelling (well, one of the problems), is that they get to the point where the yelling is routine, as well, and also gets ignored. I'm sure you know that, though. It's just a really good mantra to repeat when you find yourself starting.

Sorry if that's nothing new. I'm sure the other mamas will have much more creative solutions.
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I'm so sorry about your baby.

A few ideas about the yelling.

-Are you allowing enough time between the first request and the following ones? Give the request/directive, then count to ten silently in your head. If, by the time you get to 10, she still has not responded, then...
-Make sure she heard you. Ask her. "Did you hear what I said" or "What did I say, honey?" Repeat yourself if necessary... If she does not respond...
-Perhaps try counting. In a totally calm voice, give her until 3, and then either help her do what you ask or gently remove her from the situation. (BTW, don't count if she is harming someone. In our house, that is an "automatic 3".)
-When possible, go over to her and touch her (arm, back, whatever) and make eye contact while talking.

Now, I just need to remember to follow my own advice.
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The thing that I've always heard is eye contact. Ask him to look at you when you speak and then I'd follow it up with, "understand?" or something like that, but not "OK" 'cause you're not looking for agreement.

Example... Billy, look at Mama (wait till he looks) Please don't hit the dog, that hurts and we don't hit. You can pet him gently or leave him alone. Understand?
Yeah, at 3 it really isn't realistic to expect them to "obey" when you ask them to stop doing something that is fun (or exciting or getting attention or whatever). You have to be ready to physically intervene in the situation. If its not worth moving to where they are and physically getting involved, then its probably not worth saying anything at all about. Right now, your child gets to continue to do whatever was fun in the first place, plus gets the bonus of having all of your attention for as long as you continue to yell. Jackpot for her, no wonder things continue. You need to add the second step to your strategy. Ask, then remove them or whatever they are harming.
DS is 3 1/2 and I concur, listening is still a skill in progress. If I truly want him to hear me, I need to be calm, use as few words as possible and most importantly, kneel down and talk to him face to face, using physical action when necessary... say, if he's being rough with the cat, I'll stop him in motion--firmly/gently, and then go on with my explanation. DS tends to tune me out if I lecture or go on.

In addition, without the benefit of my physical action, eye level approach, I needn't bother doing or saying anything at all. The fact is, he can become so into playing that he truly just does not hear me. I've never sensed that he's ignoring me on purpose at all... still just learning how to be in his play world and be attentive to what's going on around him. Like I mentioned before, still a work in progress.

Best of luck!
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Originally Posted by Bippity
Example... Billy, look at Mama (wait till he looks)
What about when they are refusing to look at you b/c they don't want to have to do what you're telling them?

What I tried and it seems to work pretty well- was at the end of the day (when we had a particularly bad day) I would talk to dd. I said 'we had a pretty bad today, I don't like to yell, you need to listen. If you don't like what I'm telling you, you need to talk to me and try to say what you want. Why don't we try to have a good listening/no yelling day tomorrow.'

Then, the next morning, if she's not listening, or I'm getting on edge- I remind both of us that we are trying to not have a yelling day- so she needs to listen or explain why she's not. (Example- I want to finish what I'm doing before I put on my shoes, etc.)
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