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Parenting a Child Who Ignores You


I am having an ongoing problem with my daughter that is driving me to the end of my rope. I have to ask her over and over again to do everything from shutting off the TV to picking up a book. She doesn’t ignore her teachers, only me. How do I get my daughter to respect me?



The fact that your daughter is able to listen and follow instructions at school proves that you should expect nothing less of her. Hold her to that expectation by being consistent until she realizes that you are ​not going to bend. Right now she knows that this very thing is upsetting to you, and therefore she is controlling you and your emotions. She is going to keep doing it until you regain control by showing her that it doesn't upset you and that the only person she is hurting is herself.

It sounds like you are having to work harder than she is, which is not the way it should be. Let's see if we can cut out some of the work for you and put it back on her. Here are some things we would like you to try:

  1. Get her attention and make eye contact before you begin speaking.
  2. Remove all other distractions (TVs, cell phones, gaming devices) before you give her an instruction.
  3. Deliver the instruction in simple steps.  
  4. Ask her to repeat back to you what you want done.  
  5. Ask her to perform the instruction.

The most important thing to remember is that if the instruction is not followed, you follow up with your daughter by issuing a consequence. The consequence needs to be implemented as immediately as possible. This means that after you have asked her once and the task is not completed, the consequence is delivered.

Since this is something that your daughter struggles with at home, it might do her some good to practice following instructions. This can be done by creating opportunities for her to show you how she follows instructions. It might also be helpful if you have her check back with you to ensure that she has completed the task. Make sure she receives lots of praise for practicing or any other time that she is able to follow instructions. Be consistent and you should see changes.