What to do if a 6 year old child does not listen?
What if a six year old child doesn’t listen? This is a query often typed into search engines desperate parents. And not always find sensible answers. So why six year old children do not listen, and what to do about it? Family psychologist Alina Vinogradova answers.
Why is not listening?
What is disobedience?
To begin with let’s understand the terms. Disobedience is, as it is considered, this behavior, which creates difficulties for adults. For example, a boy stands up at a traffic light and does not go, his mother has difficulty with him, and she scolds her son for his bad behavior. It is important to distinguish behavior that is difficult for parents, and the behavior not corresponding to the generally accepted norms (which can be called really bad). Of course, both are uncomfortable for parents, but there is still a difference. It is one thing when the child is just being naughty, fights, refuses to do something necessary – and quite another when, knowing full well that it is not good to do so, he/she does it anyway: fights, hurts little and defenseless people, shows aggression in general. And most often we encounter “difficult” behavior rather than “bad” behavior.
How does difficult behavior manifest itself in six-year-olds?
Mostly it is disobedience or lying. At six years of age, tantrums are less common than at five, but they happen nonetheless. In addition, the older the child, the more different ways he has to express his discontent violently.
Why do not children obey?
Reasons for disobedience
The reasons may be different, including purely domestic or psycho-physiological: tired, hungry, overexcited, not getting enough sleep, something frightened. But more often the child tests the degree of parental attachment to him or her by means of difficult behavior. The reasons for doubts can be quite different: a parent became distant, or stopped talking. Therefore, the child checks (or, in the words of psychologist Ludmila Petranovskaya, “pulls the rope of affection”): does it still matter to parents or not? Has something changed in their relationship, or is everything the same?
For a six-year-old, affection is very important, and for him, for example, asking to buy him something is a way to get attention. Paying attention to him means they are attached to him.
How often does a child hear “no” in response to his requests?
Here we are talking about the needs of the child, about how much they are satisfied. If we often say “no” to quite reasonable requests related to natural needs, the child may react with disobedience. Here again there is a refrain of attachment, because the child may think, “If my needs are being ignored, am I even needed?”
When he is tired, he doesn’t hear!
It is important to remember that a child, unlike an adult, still has a very weak, undeveloped will, so he cannot make a conscious effort to correct his behavior. The brain is not yet that developed. It is believed that by the age of seven, only the rudiments of the will appear, and it is fully developed only by the age of fourteen. Yes, a six-year-old, unlike a toddler, has learned to hear his parents, but only if he is not tired.
Fatigue occurs when there is emotional or physical “overload” – and then the child becomes a “jetpack. In such a state, it is almost impossible to explain anything to him.
What can be “overload” for a child? An emotional movie, an abundance of new information, a large number of people or toys, a bright environment. And this tension can lead to tantrums – if parents misbehave during these minutes.
Six does not equal seven!
If five and six-year-olds are quite similar, then between the six and seven-year-olds there is a noticeable difference. At age seven, the child begins to become aware of himself. If you ask a six-year-old, “What are you like?” – he will say, “Big,” while a seven-year-old will say, “Small,” because at seven, the child begins to understand his or her place in the world. A six-year-old plays games in which he is already an adult for himself: a real doctor or a fireman. A six-year-old has self-confidence, he can make comments, be a kind of mentor: “Mom, Dad, you have to do it like this!
However, even though he or she feels like an adult, he or she is not aware of responsibility for his or her actions. Responsibility is a very high level of reflection that occurs only in adolescence. But although our irresponsible six-year-old thinks he is big and wise, his parents are still a huge authority for him. So if he does not listen, it is not because he does not count with them.
It is because parents mean so much to a six-year-old that it is important for him to feel their support. And if there is no such support… For example, parents agree with the disgruntled neighbor at the entrance and scold the child in front of her. For him, it is a real betrayal, he becomes anxious, and he again begins to test affection by disobedience.
Children under seven years of age are very different because of the immaturity of the brain, they can behave in different ways. And difficult or easy behavior depends not so much on the upbringing, but on the peculiarities of the nervous system. With a stable nervous system, the child will be calm and conventionally “obedient”, and vice versa: with easily excitable, he will be “overloaded” by any new impressions. The ability of the nervous system to inhibit and switch is also important.
Lying as a symptom
Disobedience can also manifest itself in the form of lying. Preschool children lie, first, because they do not want to lose their relationship with a significant adult. Second, because their view of the world is magical in a sense: when a child says that the cup broke on its own, he thinks he has “changed reality” and now everything has become exactly as he said.
How not to respond to disobedience?
The “it’s the parents’ fault for the children’s disobedience” position is wrong because, as mentioned before, not everything is up to the parents. Everyone’s child is different, and everyone talks about their needs differently, and sometimes they don’t talk about them at all. Still, there are several erroneous behaviors common among parents.
1. Giving excessive freedom.
A common mistake is the position “the child is already big, let him or her choose for themselves” or “you shouldn’t interfere with the child, limiting his or her personal freedom. Parents with this attitude, for example, ask their child, “Are you going to clean your toys? The child will usually think, “Of course I won’t, why should I?” The child is at a loss: “Why are my parents asking me that?” This makes him anxious and as a result, disobedience.
Children need rules, stable foundations. They want to trust their parents, they need to know that a parent’s word is an iron word. For them predictability is important. From the point of view of psychology, we can talk about a free personality only in adolescence, when the child has the ability to reflect, responsibility, and so on. Therefore it is incorrect to talk about the free will of a six-year-old child. This all appears gradually and later.
2. Punish .
Another mistake is punishment. When do we resort to this way to make a child obey? When there is nothing else to do. Thus, punishing, parents literally sign in the powerlessness. Therefore, punishment should be avoided, trying to solve the problem more constructive methods.
You should not react too emotionally to disobedience: to shout in a fit of righteous anger, to wave your hands threateningly etc. You should not punish impulsively, being in an excited condition. You should not isolate the child, ignore him or her, because it only increases his or her anxiety and mistrust. In general, isolation, silence is a manifestation of psychological violence, which deeply traumatizes the child for life.
3. Nodding at “the psyche.”
The third mistake is to immediately write off the disobedience of the child on “mental problems” and to drag it to psychologists and psychiatrists. Even if the child is quite healthy, anxious parents are not satisfied with one doctor’s opinion and go to the next one, until they finally get a prescription for something “really good. Or the doctor himself, being guided not so much by medical as by commercial considerations, finds something that must be treated. And it must be expensive.
Of course, difficult behavior may be a manifestation of some problems or difficulties in a child, such as hyperactivity. Here it is important to avoid two extremes.
The first is when the child is, in general, normal, but parents try to keep him or her within strict limits, and any deviation from parental expectations is perceived as a mental problem.
The second extreme is when the child really needs medical help, and the parents do not go to the doctors and lose time in which to help the child. Who, by the way, also suffers from his difficult behavior.
First of all, parents need to understand the reason for this behavior. If we cannot explain it with the usual motives: the child is awake, fed, gets enough attention, is not in an environment that causes anxiety – only then should we turn to specialists. That is, if the child is awake, fed, gets enough attention, is not in conditions that cause anxiety, but nevertheless goes berserk – only then we should think about the “medical factor”.
What is the right thing to do when reacting to disobedience?
1. Give attention
If a child demands something, for example, to buy a toy, it is not the purchase that matters for him or her, as we have already found out, but attention. You can offer something in return: to do something with your hands, to spend time together. After all, a tantrum is also an attempt to get attention, which works, as a rule, without fail.
In case, if the child is capricious, because he is tired, it is necessary to act as if he was younger than his six years: look into the eyes, put him on your lap, give him a drink from a tube, offer to “breathe, calm down”. The child cannot do it himself, he is small. If he is tired, our task is to switch it over, to calm him down, to get him out of a situation where his nervous system is too strongly stimulated.
2. Calmly explain
How do you explain to him why he should do it this way and not that way?
Firstly, it is important to find contact with the child, to be on the same level as him. At the end of the day, he will not hear his mother shouting from the kitchen, “Put away your toys at once!” You can offer him an imaginary choice: “Will you take the toys in this car or that car?”
Secondly, there should be few rules, they should be reasonable and clearly stated. For example: you should always stop and look around before crossing the road, because otherwise you’ll get hit by a car and get hurt.
If we are still talking about punishments, then the only effective punishment will be to let the child face the consequences of his behavior. If he broke his toy in a tantrum, don’t expect that he will immediately get a new one. If, in spite of the ban, he got into a puddle and got his feet wet – let him walk around with wet feet for a while (if, of course, you understand, that in this case it is safe for his health).
There is no need to directly contradict the child, guided by clichés and stereotypes, but it is necessary to go to him on contact, to find ways of solving, for example, through the game, which six-year-olds love very much.
3. Control yourself.
A parent’s ability to control himself is important. If he or she feels that he or she cannot hold back, it is enough just to say his or her emotions: “I am very angry” and postpone the discussion for later. This is like the oxygen masks on an airplane: the main thing is that the parent should be in a stable and safe condition to be able to help his or her baby.
Praise for good behavior.
It is important to maintain a good relationship with your child, such as praise for good behavior. By doing so, we are practically telling him directly, “Do this.” It is like training, but in certain situations, we cannot do without training, because the child’s brain is not formed enough.
The dry residue
Let’s try to make a rough plan of what to do if the child does not listen.
First: you should understand the motive underlying the child’s behavior.
This will almost always be a desire to check the attachment of parents, caused by the need for attention, anxiety. Also, the reason could just be fatigue, overexertion from too much stress on the nervous system.
Secondly, if a child’s actions threaten his or her health and life, it is necessary to interrupt them, and, having established contact with the child, calmly explain why not to do so
In all other cases the reason for his or her difficult behavior should be eliminated.
It is important to calm the child, to switch his nervous system: first of all it is necessary to stop the aggressive nervous stimulation
You can bathe your child, give him something cold to drink or eat, let him bubble up. But just do not seat him in front of cartoons. In this case, they will only increase irritation and overload, with which it will then become even more difficult to fight.
Parents should figure out what they really need: a trusting, good relationship with your child, or their own right, which only exacerbates difficult behavior.
After all, what is called “obeying”? There are safety rules that a child must follow. And can it be that the child is not capricious and walks “in line”? This is utopia, achieved only by psychological violence, which deeply traumatizes the child for life.
As a rule, after reading such articles parents feel enthusiasm and try to become ideal educators. However, you should first reconsider your methods of communication with children, remembering the old adage: Raising a child begins with raising yourself. You have to be willing to accept the consequences of their behavior.
The main thing is to accept as a given that it is impossible to achieve the ideal of a perfect error-free parent, and that a trusting relationship with children is more important than much else.
Why do children disobey? 5 reasons – and 5 tips for parents
A disobedient child is a good thing! How dangerous is obedience
Olga Mahovskaya psychologist, Ph.D., senior fellow at the Institute of Psychology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Perhaps there is no other time of year when adults and children in a typical family stay together for so long at home – we are talking about the New Year vacations. Preparation for the holiday is over, the New Year has rumbled on – and parents feel that they are already very tired of their child – because he does not obey. Why is it so hard for parents, what naughty children are and what to do with them?
Disobedient children: what did not please their parents? For such children to behave “normally”, adults have to make efforts: to restrain, control, repeat, deny, punish and warn. And that’s the point: we don’t want to strain ourselves raising children. It would be more comfortable for a child to be controlled, like a toy with a remote control.
So, developmental specialists are not inclined to sympathize with parents of disobedient children – on the contrary, they are alarmed by obedient, dependent on the parental will of children. In difficult or unusual situations, instead of mobilizing, they sour, lost, pass. They do not see this in the family circle. But when they come out in life, they show a very low level of adaptability and survive only in closed, strictly disciplined communities or in conditions of complete stagnation, when one day is like another.
Obedience often also means the absence of negative emotions in children: “good” boys and girls never get angry, responding obediently even to parental aggression. They are taught “not to bother” their parents and other important people, “not to cause problems”, “not to make them angry” and so on. Having grown up with strict taboos, they suppress positive emotions along with the bad ones. They don’t know how to rejoice and feel out of place even on their birthday.
Parenting style models the overall direction of the child’s personality and his degree of obedience. Authoritarian style, which gravitates today not only fathers, but also mothers, is to actively suppress the will of the child. In the beginning the child is literally trained. That is, they are forced to repeat commands many times until the performance reaches a high speed, so that there is no time to think. The problem of education is solved in the same way: don’t speculate on what’s interesting and what’s not, learn everything by heart if you don’t understand it.
On the contrary, the democratic style presupposes the right to vote and involvement of the child in the activity. And though some things are not discussed as they are not included in the responsibility of the child, the basic format of communication of the parent and the child is not orders, but a meeting.
They also allocate a mixed style in which parents sometimes tighten the “screws” and sometimes loosen them. Children adapt to it as well, living their carefree life from “whipping” to “flogging”.
Situation 1: Too smart
Seven-year-old Gosha’s parents are worried: he does not always seem to hear when people address him. They checked his hearing – everything is normal. Gosha is the middle child in the family, but it is because of him that everyone cannot sit down at the table on time. In the morning Gosha makes a mess in the bathroom, hanging over the sink. He forgets to tie his shoelaces on the way to school, risking a fall. Even when spoken severely and loudly, he can nonchalantly mind his own business. Authorities have no effect on him. Never have we seen strong emotions on his face, neither fear nor joy. Is he healthy? Is it a form of autism or schizophrenia, or is it a form of mental retardation? And how to shake up the child?
The examination showed that Gosha, on the contrary, has a very high intellect and lively reactions. He actively participated in the conversation, called chess his favorite game, gladly and intelligibly told what he had recently read. The most interesting thing is that after two hours of talk Gosha was not only not tired, but, on the contrary, was very active and his interest in what was going on was clearly growing.
Disobedience turned out to be a consequence of the high intensity of cerebral activity and concentration on internal problem-solving. It would seem that parents should rejoice, but the mother was upset: “I need him to listen and together with the other children to comply with my requests. “.
Comment. Children with high intelligence are simply bored with routine. They can spend hours poring over a complex task, the kind that parents can’t always handle, either. Objectively they strive to take a “special” position, which irritates family members and contradicts the principle of equality. They do not respond to raise the tone if they see that the situation is not worth the nerves, and the parents are just trying to “push.
Situation 2: too little
The parents of three-year-old Sveta are exhausted: the girl does not seem to be thinking clearly. Attempts to talk to her, to explain what to do and how to do it, were almost in vain. The girl looked with her big beautiful eyes and smiled. And then she repeated the last word, as if teasingly. “Say what Mom just said. Well!” Silence. “Mama said in Russian to take off her shoes, put them neatly in the corner, then take off her coat. Hang it neatly on the coat rack. “
When the psychologist heard the long, multi-step instruction, she exclaimed: “Whoa! How does the little girl remember all this? She doesn’t understand why you’re telling her this at all, when you just have to do it all with her. Step by step!”.
Comment. Children may not listen, i.e., not comply, simply because they are unable to remember and understand the instructions. At the stage of concrete-imaginative thinking, i.e. until the age of 6, it is better to show how to do and to practice together with the child. Children do not yet have formed voluntary attention and verbal memory, but they remember the sequence of operations.
Addressing a child should match his level of understanding and confidence. Don’t shout across the room, he may just not understand that he is the one being asked for something. Don’t use the pushy, “Why haven’t you done it yet?” Do you really think your child will sit down in a chair and explain to you why he’s having trouble understanding and complying with certain requests?
Situation 3: Too obedient
But the parents of seven-year-old Katya are concerned that it is never clear what the girl is thinking, what she wants. If you ask her to do something, she does it silently. She never squeaks. Her mother never heard her loud, gushing laughter, except until she was about a year and a half old. It was surprising that even injustice from the adults did not cause resistance, disagreement. The neighbor was jealous: “A miracle, not a child!” And my mother felt bad: “Somehow she grew up unhappy. It’s like she put up with everything beforehand. ” Child psychologist concluded that there is reason to be worried, but there are ways to “revive” the child.
Comment. A child with repressed emotions needs rehabilitation. He needs to be reminded how to experience these emotions, how to be happy, angry, surprised. This requires, first of all, that adults do not go home frowning and tense, as if waiting for the end of the world. If a child doesn’t see adults laughing, how can they learn? After all, a child simply copies the first reactions from adults.
Secondly, there should be a loyal attitude to children’s noise. Children never think of evil, they just don’t get everything right. If family members on all sides extinguish a child’s expression of feelings, how can he stand up to a group of adults?
Thirdly, there should be no taboo on expression of negative emotions – anger, resentment, irritation, crying. Under certain circumstances, this is absolutely appropriate behavior. There are even humorous games on development of negative expression: the child is dressed up in a suit of a negative character, and on his or her behalf, he or she can behave as unbridled as possible. If you join in, the child will be completely free of fear of being punished. There is also a game of funny “nicknames”: all participants in a circle throw a ball, thinking up unusual names to whom the ball flies: “You – cabbage! You are a hat! You’re a brick!”. This is a game of psychological rapprochement. After all, if we can show strong negative emotions in the presence of another person, it means we care about him or her.