Why do my children never listen to me?

‘Kids, get your shoes and coats on, it’s time to go to school now.’


‘Come on you lot, time to get ready for school.’

Still nothing…


‘Alright, alright, mummy, why do you always have to shout.’

This is a frequent occurrence in my house. On a daily basis my three children test my patience to the limit with their selective hearing, or selective deafness as I like to call it.

I stand accused of shouting at them, a lot, but in my defence I find that when I shout it’s the only time a get a response. I have to repeat myself so many times it is getting to the point where I don’t even like the sound of my own voice anymore.

I wonder if my voice is similar to one of those whistles that only dogs can hear, or maybe I will be able to communicate more effectively with dolphins! I haven’t tried that yet, so I’ll have to come back to you on that one.

It seems as though any other distraction is enough to make me invisible, be it the television a game (electronic or physical, it doesn’t matter) or just a general conversation that I am not a part of. It often gives me the feeling that I am only needed when I am needed and the rest of the time I might as well not exist.

I have wondered whether the children have hearing problems. But the girls both had grommets fitted when they were younger, so their hearing should be fine. My son hasn’t had a hearing test since he was a baby, though. He says ‘pardon’ a lot and I have started to wonder if there is a problem, but I get the impression that he doesn’t listen, rather than he doesn’t hear.

The reason I think this is because the other day I whispered to my husband to ask what he thought about taking the iPad to a restaurant we were going to. From the other side of the room my son shouted:

‘Who’s going on the iPad? I’d like to go on the iPad?’

You see, it’s selective deafness again!

So what do I do about it? Do I keep nagging at them incessantly and carry on being accused of ‘always shouting’, or is there another way of getting my point across?

My alternative idea is to buy a whistle or a gong. I have a feeling that it might help me to get some attention. Now if someone were to invent a whistle that only children could hear and respond to…

Comments (0)

  1. Perfection Pending 10th March 2014 at 9:42 pm

    Man, I feel you on this one! It’s hard when they don’t listen. I tell my husband all the time that I feel invisible. It’s a feeling all moms feel from time to time. But, we’re doing important work, we have to realize that. Have you heard this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4LbWF8iYiA It’s also a book.

  2. whativelearnedfornow 10th March 2014 at 10:02 pm

    My sister (who has no children) came over once and watched me asking that my kids do this or that while they completely ignored me and she just sat there laughing at me. Sometimes, when I feel like I’ve been yelling a lot, I’ll get their attention (like muting Wild Krats) and warn them ahead of time what I want them to do. it works. Sometimes. And then sometimes I just have to yell.

  3. ProteanMom 10th March 2014 at 10:14 pm

    Our pediatrician recommended the book “1, 2, 3 Magic.” My boy still has some selective deafness, but he’s a really good boy. And the book helped us both set ground rules so he listens fairly well to us. Most of the time.

  4. Actually Mummy 11th March 2014 at 10:11 am

    I have this exact argument every morning. They’ve even got the hang of tuning me out whilst replying to me – the classic, humour her and she’ll shut up that I had down to perfection as a teenager!

  5. OutmannedMommy 13th March 2014 at 3:30 am

    My son is going through a “not listening” phase at the moment. It’s like talking to a brick wall until I threaten him with a time out and then suddenly he’s all ears. I must say “why can’t you just listen to me the first time?” about 500 times a day.

  6. 9jaime 15th March 2014 at 6:54 pm

    I have no freaking clue what to do. I have 9 kids, so most days I walk around being ignored until I say it’s time for dessert or time to play Minecraft. I have good kids, so I don’t want to give the wrong impression. All I do is try really hard to get their attention and make sure they do what I want them to the first time, follow through with threats (which means I can’t threaten to throw away every single toy they have because I WON’T actually do that), and yes, yelling works if needed. Glad to know I’m not alone. 🙂

    • Nicola Young 15th March 2014 at 7:57 pm

      If I had any more kids we would never leave the house! I often find myself asking my eldest to ask her brother or sister to do something that I need them to do, as they seem to listen to her more than they do me. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Jessie 18th March 2014 at 3:15 am

    A whistle only children could hear? Brilliant!!!

  8. Tarana Khan 28th May 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Ah, kids! They are masters of selective hearing, and my toddler is a good example of that too. He never misses anything which involves going out or a treat 🙂 #sharewithme

  9. normaleverydaylifeblog 28th May 2014 at 1:46 pm

    I experience this, too and I hate getting to the point of yelling. I don’t know how to solve, but it’s certainly good to know I’m not alone! 🙂 #sharewithme

  10. Mumaleary 28th May 2014 at 4:01 pm

    That whistle would be snapped up on Dragons Den!! Everyone has selective deafness- mine comes into play with bins!

  11. Jenny 28th May 2014 at 9:28 pm

    I shout all the time too and mine two are still really young. I can foresee hating my own voice very soon too. Although I am one of eight children and my mother shouted a lot too and yes that was the only time we ever heard her. It was tuned out otherwise and carry on doing what we were doing. That’s just kids for you. I can actually hear her saying these very words and I know I will be just like her as I have seen a bit of it already when my toddler doesn’t listen to me, the tv gets it instead. Boys always have the best selective hearing too. Aren’t they clever? Love the post you are definitely not alone. I chuckled at the talking to dolphins. You are hilarious. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. #sharewithme

  12. Merlinda Little (@pixiedusk) 29th May 2014 at 10:15 pm

    Funny how my son is just 4 but I am already experiencing this. I mean I will tell him that we are going out and lets go but he is just there tinkering on something. Few seconds and that’s also the time that he needs to pee or poo! Nice timing too right? If you find a solution for this please share as you will save me so much time in repeating myself 10,000x before we can really go where we need to go. #sharewithme

    • Nicola Young 30th May 2014 at 8:18 am

      I have reached the point where I will say something twice and then if I get to the third time I say that if I have to ask this again I am going to take one of your toys away. They don’t like that, so it seems to get them moving. Kids have memories like goldfish. You ask them to go and get something from their room and when they don’t reappear for ages you find them playing and they’ve completely forgotten what you asked them to go and get. They drive me crazy sometimes!

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