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Anonymous 

Hi All! Struggling keeping my almost 4 year old daughter under control. She is a very active child and her mother and I try desperately every day to keep her busy and active as much outside as possible. However she simply will not listen and do as she's told to the point of concerning. Nothing seems to be working in keeping her under control. Tried the usual taking her treats away, time outs, even ... if you do x you get y etc ... so as many push and pull strategies we can find but nothing seems to be working. Any advice or experience greatly received! Thanks!

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Dad in constant need of help 
Hi there. This sounds familiar! I had a very similar experience. First thing I had to do was make sure that I stopped doing anything else when they weren't listening, and focused on them completely. I made eye contact and asked them questions. Kids often have tough times communicating their feelings and that frustration can manifest in various ways (tantrums/being overly-active/ignoring you/etc). So if you can talk to your kid and show them that you are listening, they may start to communicate better and start listening themselves. That was my experience anyway; basically getting them to communicate more made them a better listener.
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Dad in constant need of help 
Hi there. This sounds familiar! I had a very similar experience. First thing I had to do was make sure that I stopped doing anything else when they weren't listening, and focused on them completely. I made eye contact and asked them questions. Kids often have tough times communicating their feelings and that frustration can manifest in various ways (tantrums/being overly-active/ignoring you/etc). So if you can talk to your kid and show them that you are listening, they may start to communicate better and start listening themselves. That was my experience anyway; basically getting them to communicate more made them a better listener.
Ben Tantrum 
hmm - this is a tricky one and difficult to answer without detailed knowledge of your family dynamics ... a longer chat with one of our experts may be able to help (such as Livvy of LetsAskLivvy.co.uk who specialises in behavioural strategies)
Dad Doing His Best 
Thank you for your help! Sincerely this makes sense about listening better and sounds familiar as I have a tendancy to get frustrated and tune out when it's constant and I don't get a break from it. I'll also check out Livvy and see what she has to say. Thank you sincerely! :)
Ben Tantrum 
Glad we could help. Do let us know how it goes. Feeding back your experiences would be a great help to others. Best of luck. B
Let's Ask Livvy 
Not listening can be cause for great frustration and is an issue that many parents contact me about- you are certainly not alone here! I can appreciate it may seem more frustrating as you have tried many different strategies and are not seeing the results you want- but good job for being proactive and trying to address these challenges. As Ben Tantrum says- it's hard to give specific advice without knowing more about the behaviours etc. But there first thing to remember is that behaviours don't change over night and also sometimes they may get worse before they get better- sorry!! The reason I am telling you this is because it might be that you had the right strategy but maybe did not give it enough time to take effect before introducing another one. Often when we set new boundaries, behaviour can get worse while the child works out what the new boundaries are, how far they can push them, whether you really mean what you say etc. But our instinct is "ahhh I tried something new, it made things worse, I should stop immediately!" Stopping the new strategies might not be the way forward. I help parents work out the function of behaviours, why they may be happening and what might be maintaining them. It sounds like the not listening behaviours may be being maintained by the attention they get, i.e your daughter may be getting more attention for the not listening than for the good listening- remember attention does not need to be positive for it to maintain a behaviour (but as I said I do not know enough about this situation- this may not be what is maintaining the behaviours- an area I would like to explore more with you). Dad in constant need of help- hit the nail on the head when he said making sure your daughter is ready to listen and take on board info is really important. But also really praising and looking out for when she does listen, does do as you ask etc- in behavioural terms praising the behaviour you want to see more of is pretty much the golden rule. So making sure she's getting more of your attention, praise and reward for her good listening as opposed to attention for her not listening. Also remembering she is only 4, she is at an age when she is trying to work out how to be independent, confident and self assured- for our kids these are tricky skills and getting the balance right can be hard for them. Her language may be good - but when cross, tired, hungry etc her ability to process language, remember the right thing to do etc may be compromised - try not to over talk/ over explain things to her- give a clear message and don't bombard her with too much language to process. I hope that this helps- let me know if you would like to book a phone consultation- see my website for more details. Good luck!!
Dad in constant need of help 
Most important thing to take away from Livvy's feedback is 'Dad in constant need of help- hit the nail on the head'. 😉 Seriously though, I totally agree with her points, especially the one about inability to process language when tired/cross/hungry.
Mike Tantrum 
Interesting stuff. I have experience teaching English to Japanese kids that age (been a while though!) and they got so frustrated, angry and almost uncontrollable with the added language barrier. My stereotypical preconceptions were shattered!😂 It took me a while to learn my own techniques, but REALLY simplifying my language, keeping things short and listening (rather than controlling) made a huge difference. Yes, and lots of praise when things go right! Great stuff from Livvy.
Anonymous 
Try classical music or dance music -see what she enjoys the most -exercising or whatever. Also, try a reward chart?
Dad Doing His Best 
Thank you again and Let's Ask Livvy I sincerely appreciate such an in-depth, detailed and sincere response! I will absolutely give it my best effort. I like the running theme of consistency so she doesn't get confused and the simplicity of paying more attention. I think in all honesty as she doesn't have any siblings she just wants more time. Hard thing when so much energy is required and how constant it is however the alternative is most certainly not desirable. Thank you again!
Mike Tantrum 
We're all glad to have helped, although I can't compete with Livvy. Definitely check out her site (in her profile) if you haven't already. 👍👍👍
Celine Bell 
Late to the party here and I'm no expert, but a shout out for the book "How to talk so kids will listen, and how to listen so kids will talk." Got some great tips from here, and I'd echo what is said above about giving kids full attention. drop down to their level so you can look them in the eyes - that's really worked for me. Good luck. And repeat after me, "it's just a phase".

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