How can I get my child to do what I tell him the first time? I am so angry.

@magnet (2089)
United States
July 13, 2007 3:25am CST
I am so frustrated with my 5 year old. He is so stubborn sometimes. When I tell him something like stop running in the house for example he will say okay but he continues. I don't like repeating myself. When I say do something, I mean do it the first time. That repeating crap is getting old and I have to bite my tongue so that I don't say something that I have no business saying.I don't like counting that one two three concept that I see some parents doing. I have put him in time out that does not always work. I fuss,that does not always work, he gets whoopings that does not always work.He will do what I say but I expect him to do it immediately, if I say pick up those crayons I expect him to get up immediately I don't want to hear but mommy I was just crap. I don't know what I am doing wrong. I am getting stressed because he starts kindergarden this year, and I don't want to hear his teachers calling me up,and hearing about him getting into trouble, so I am really working hard to get him straight. He is academically gifted but he is also stubborn and hardheaded that's his downfall. I love him and I am really trying hard to be a good parent. What in the world am I doing wrong or what else should I do to get him to obey the first time. My one year old will do as I say the first time, why can't I get him to do what I say the first time. I hate repeating myself? Go ahead please and give me some suggestions, your real opinion.
6 people like this
19 responses
@derek_a (10903)
13 Jul 07
It sounds like your son is seeking his own authority to see how far he can get his own way with you. He has probably discovered that stubbornness works and if you are getting angry and he can see this, that is another way that he has control of his environment. I can remember going through this as a kid, as my kids did the same. Once they know they can have an effect on your emotions, that is like a piece of power for them, which they then become addicted to. They don't want to stop, because it feels so controlling and as a five-year-old in a world of big adults, feels he wants a bit of control for himself. The only thing I found worked was not to show it was getting to you. I remembered as a kid, that my big sister once said to me (when I was acting up), "Ok go ahead, but don't expect me fight with you, I couldn't care less!" I started behaving almost immediately because one thing I did no want was to be ignored. However, that this doesn't work all of the time, but can give peace and quiet for a while. We all grow out of it and it's a part of family life :-)
1 person likes this
@magnet (2089)
• United States
13 Jul 07
I really try hard not to get upset. It's kinda of hard not to get upset because I am tired of repeating myself. He also loves attention.I give him attention but his sister needs attention also. I hope this behavior is not apart of getting more attention.
1 person likes this
@derek_a (10903)
13 Jul 07
I can fully understand that it is not easy to do, as I found out myself. A good method when it gets too much may be to get yourself a cushion/pillow, bury your face into it and scream. Not in front of your son of course, or he may think that he has gained even more power over you. Another method is to focus on the here and now, recognise that here and now is all there is and stop fighting the experience. Let it be. If you can remain focused on the moment of now, you can recognise that this is all there is and the mind can become very still. Instead of blocking our your own comments to your son, focus on and observe your reactions, feelings and emotions as if watching someone else. It may take a little practice, but it can work.. Hope this is of a little help to you.. :-)
1 person likes this
@Gemmygirl1 (2871)
• Australia
13 Jul 07
I think the 1 thing you have to remember is consistancy - if you're gonna give him time out - keep with time out, don't swap & change with different punishment options. If he thinks 1 day he's gonna get his butt kicked, the next he'll be in time out & another day he'll fussed over - he'll begin to think he can get away with things. Pick 1, stick with it & the more he does it - the longer his time out should be. I don't know a lot about 5 year olds but i have a couple of 4 year old nieces - the consistancy thing seems to work. If you wanna use time out - do it EVERY time, the more he messes up, the longer he has time out for. Or you could try the reward system, if he doesn't listen, take something of importance away from him. Tell him he needs to make sure he's done as he's told, when he's told to do it or he'll continue to have toys & privelidges taken away from him. He will get the idea but it might take a bit - it might be that he's gotten away with quite a lot for too long in the past which is why it's hard for you to get him out of the habit now :)
@magnet (2089)
• United States
13 Jul 07
Thanks for your suggestion. I agree habits are hard to break. He was our first born and maybe I did let him get away with things without realizing it. I really prefer not to spank him that's my last resort. He is really a sweetheart. I just want him to listen better. He responds well with the reward system,perhaps we should try to stick with one form of punishment, I'm just trying to figure out which one will work best for him.
@coferbox (298)
• United States
13 Jul 07
No child will mind if they know there are no consequences if they don't. You might not get your child to mind you the first time you tell him something but you shouldn't have to tell him several times. If you are constantly telling him and giving warnings but not actually following though you can bet he will keep right on doing what he wants. Tell him once not to run in the house, if he does it again put him in time out. If he does it again within a short period then you need to go for stiffer punishment, such as longer periods in time out or taking away a favorite toy. It will take time and effort on your part and there will be days you will fell like throwing up your hands and letting him go - but you have to stay strong. It WILL pay off in time. And you will be glad that you stuck it out. It will pay off greatly the older he gets if you make him mind now. Once he gets much older it will just be harder until you reach the point that there is nothing you can do. If you don't make him mind at age 5 you might as well forget about it at age 15.
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
13 Jul 07
I have a soon to be five year old and some times he does not listen to me when I tell him for the first time. I have tried changing my whole tune and not making it a thing that I demand him to do, but actually talk to him in a way that makes him understand why I am asking him to do it. I use to yell at him and he refused to do it, simply because of the way was I was asking him to do it, with anger and frustration. I am a lot calmer at it and even though at times I do flare up (its normal) I do find myself trying to remember to be calmer, patient and understanding. It may not work for you but it did for me. I am less stressed now that I ever was.
@magnet (2089)
• United States
13 Jul 07
I really try not to say it with an attitude and I try to explain myself. He is very inquisitive and he tries to explain things to me about why he does not want to obey and then he tries to negotiate everything and say but why after I've already tried to explain it, then I find myself getting frustrated and say because I said so. Which is not good because I did not like it when my parents told me, because I said so. Now I understand. What you are doing is great. I am going to continue to try to work on my tune. It's easier said than done. Thanks for your good advice.
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
13 Jul 07
I know its very hard and you know, you have a very smart son there trying to negotiate with you, my son does that too and its hard not to give in or raise your voice even more. I know I don't have good negotiating skills LOL but my husband does and its surprising what a 5 year old comes up with to try to get his way. He is one clever boy your son. Hang in there my friend, i know this can be very very frustrating!
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
13 Jul 07
Oh by the way, if it gets too much, go into your room, close the door, scream as loud as you can into a pillow so no one hears you, then come back out smiling, that might help you get rid of some of the tension LOL I've seen it being done!
@kimthedane (1000)
• Denmark
13 Jul 07
Sorry but this is utopia. You will have to change your attitude and meet your child where it is.
@magnet (2089)
• United States
13 Jul 07
I do not understand your comment. Can you elaborate?What do you mean change my attitude. Is it not normal for a parent to get frustrated when their child does not obey? Should I just tell him to do something like don't run near the pool and he keeps doing it and just say, well he's just a child. I expect him to respond. I don't think that it's too much for a parent to expect their child to be obedient.
1 person likes this
• Denmark
13 Jul 07
No sorry magnet, that was not what i ment. When i say it is utopia i mean no child respond the first time you ask them to do what they do not want to do. Yes it is every parents right to expect their kids to obey their orders, but the way you presented this discussion i got the impression that if your son do not obey the first time asking you get frustrated and angry, and this sure aint good neither for you, your son and your relationship. Maybe i got you wrong, and if that is the case i am sorry. Kids live in their own world and when you ask them to do something that is not a part of this world you are disturbing them. There obviously aint anything wrong in this on your behalf, but at first asking you disturb their world, at second asking you get them back to reality, and then after that you can start expecting that they obey. Sometimes as parents we have to forget ourselfs and our needs as adults, and try to see the world from the perspective of our kids. That was what i ment. Hope this clarify my position and it somehow can be of any use to you. Greetings
2 people like this
@magnet (2089)
• United States
13 Jul 07
I know that all children will not respond the first time, but I am home all day with them and after repeating myself all day about different issues, by the end of the day I am frustrated. I do not get frustrated everytime, but I get frustrated if the behavior is consistent. It's not like that every day. We have our good days and not so good days.
1 person likes this
@34momma (13918)
• United States
13 Jul 07
well if you find out how to do that, then i suggest you put it in a bottle and sell it to make millions and millions of bucks!! LOL i know that one thing that does work is to get down there on their level and look into their little faces so that they know that you are not playing games. talk stern but not yelling. i will admit that i am a yeller. but my kids who are a pain in the a$$ because that is what children are. they are always testing you to see what they can get away with. but just alway make sure you word is law and never go back on that. don't worry, your child is as normal as any other 5 year old running in the house not listening pain in the butt. if you just make sure you always get down to their level and mean what you say he will be fine. just never ever let them see you sweat girl
@magnet (2089)
• United States
13 Jul 07
You sound just like my mom, it sounds just like something she would say.lol I am really working hard not to yell or get loud, because I don't want no one else yelling at my son or my daughter, but sometimes,Lord have mercy. I'm working on it.
1 person likes this
@34momma (13918)
• United States
13 Jul 07
girl it is work every single day. i don't know of any perfect parents or children. we make mistakes learn and move on. i say don't worry yourself to make about it,but just work on it every time you see yourself getting to upset.
@whyaskq (7553)
• Singapore
13 Jul 07
My nephews and nieces were like that too when they were 5 years old. However, once they started school, things were different. They are more obedient though at times they do throw tantrums and refuse to listen when their mum screams at them. I find that if you talk to them quietly and nicely, they tend to listen more than if you are excited and aggreviated. That's my experience with my nephews and nieces.
@magnet (2089)
• United States
13 Jul 07
I have faith that he will start being more obedient.I think it's important to get him to obey the first time now because when he gets older it might be harder to get him to obey. I get frustrated sometimes and raise my voice alittle but I don't ever scream at him. He does not ever have tantrums. Sometimes talking quietly and nicely does not always work although it sounds ideal. He does not seem to take me seriously when I talk too quiet or nice.Thanks for your response.
• United States
13 Jul 07
I think you should also remember he is still 5. He can't jump up at the sound of every comman. He needs time to get it soaked in and then he should be able to listen to you. It sounds like he may need to get to a doctor. I have seen this before it sounds like he may need testing. Good luck to you.
@magnet (2089)
• United States
13 Jul 07
There is not anything wrong with him. He does not have ADHD,ADD or anything of that nature. I think even children who needs testing are capable of obeying their parents.Why do you think he needs testing?Where did you get that from?
@Rozie37 (15505)
• Turkmenistan
13 Jul 07
It is very important that children obey the first time. There are times when their lives could be in danger, so obeying the first time is very important. When ever he does not obey the first time, give him a consequence that will get his attention, so he knows that you are serious.
@magnet (2089)
• United States
13 Jul 07
I totally agree with you. Thanks for your response.
• Ecuador
13 Jul 07
I have a neice she's 4 years old and she obeys me really without repeating myself and the secret is i obey for the good things she likes to do and so she obeys for things i tell her to do i punish her keeeping things she likes when she does mistakes and so she leave bad habbits to get these things back.(DIDN'T OCCUR A LOT ACTUALLY) and my advice is ( you have to act like a kid and not expecting your kid to act like an adult )
@magnet (2089)
• United States
13 Jul 07
I reward him for his good behavior. I take him to the movies,fun time,summer camps etc. As his parent I still expect him to obey the first time and I don't think having that expectation of him is asking him to act like an adult. I know that he is capable of obeying. I do not expect him to behave like an adult. I do not think that that is asking too much.
@EvanHunter (4030)
• United States
13 Jul 07
Oh how I wish my kids could be 5 again. If you think you are at your wits end now wait till they hit the teenage years. Hopefully if you keep consistant rules than things wont be too bad when their hormones kick in and they really loose all sense of thinking. My oldest boy has been the most trouble but even when he was very young he was a big rebel so it was really no surprise when he grew up to be a rebelious teen also. What starts with not eating green beans has turned into not wanting to do chores...lol. But as everyone has said kids have a very short attention span you are basically teaching him right now to have one at all so dont expect that he will ever get it the first time.
@magnet (2089)
• United States
13 Jul 07
Thanks for your response. I don't know what it's like to have a teenager, because I don't have one. I know that any child can be rebellious. I was rebellious myself at times. I don't expect my children to be perfect. I just want them to be obedient and respectful.
@mmiller26 (1932)
• Canada
13 Jul 07
No child, and I repeat, no child will do what you ask them to do the first time. It simply will not happen. Maybe when he was younger, he might have. But he's 5 now and he's developing his own personality, striving for independence, and frankly, he's not a little automaton who will "yes sir/no sir" you. He's a child. You can't expect him to act like an older child or a little soldier who will do everything you say. I've implemented the 1,2,3 thing you described, and for us it's worked tremendously. I used to start at 1 and give him three chances to be a good boy before there were negative consequences, but anymore I skip to 2, meaning that I mean business and I'm not going to tolerate any more fooling around. With few exceptions, he does what I ask.
@magnet (2089)
• United States
13 Jul 07
I can't speak for all children because all children are different. The 1,2,3 thing may work for you and that is good that it does it use to work for me with him. I don't expect him to act like a soldier but I do expect him to do obey me. I don't know what teachers will do in a school setting. What if the teachers have to warn 20 children 1,2,3 before they will do what is expected. I don't know if any teaching would be done. My expectation is for him to obey me the first time and I don't think that's too much to ask. Thanks for your response
@meganree (19)
• United States
17 Jul 07
Unfortunately, you'll have to always repeat yourself, children are little stinker's and they like to see what they can get away with and will test you over and over on the same things, you just have to stay persistent on your disciplining, do not give in or give up just keep at it and sooner or later they'll get the point!
• Australia
14 Jul 07
you need to sit down and talk with him- explain to him that it makes you sad when he doesnt listen, and also explain to him why we dont run in the house-it is dangerous-we could fall or trip. You need to also make hime aware that there are consequences for not listening to your requests for example- give him three warnings - if he still doesnt listen use time out- time out is where he is not allowed to play for a certain period of time as a consequence of him not listening to you. the other method is re direction- this is best done when he is running slowly- you need to open the back door and have him run out into the back yard - maybe this kid of yours has just got a lot of energy and needs to release it. Another method also is putting your hand up to say "stop" in order to alert him that his behaviour is unacceptable. good luck. elicia
• Philippines
14 Jul 07
in this small age of a child it happens but u shud always be carefull that never to get angrey to a child in this age coz it will make the child more stuburn ..do everything with love and one day she will learn everything!!
@sid556 (31018)
• United States
14 Jul 07
Oh could I feel your pain here! It is so very frustrating being a parent! If only i could go back and re-raise my girls,I would excercise so much more patience! It is only in hindsight that I can tell you that these frustrating days will pass. Love is very forgiving. Let your child know that you love him. When you lose it and say unkind things ...appologize and beg forgiveness. yes...beg! You are human and not above skrewing up. We WANT to be perfect parents but we are human & we are not perfect at anything. I don't know. I have been thru hell and back with my girls. We have exchanged some of the most horrible words ever in the heat of a moment. don't compare him to your younger child. Mostly it sounds as if you need a much deserved break. Is there anyone who could take your kids for a couple of hours? Use this spot to vent. It is obvious that you really care or you would not be here looking for advice.
@badpenny (742)
• Seagoville, Texas
14 Jul 07
I have 3 grown children and 5 wonderful grandchildren and if there's on thing I know about kids, they rarely do things the first time you tell them to. I think you are expecting way too much from a 5 year old in the firat place, and in the second place, if everything only had to be said once, they wouldn't need school. Raising children is a thankless job consisting of endless repetition. Get used to it. I can tell you he is probably not being stubborn at all. He's just a little boy that is still developing his sense of self. Relax, enjoy him while he is little and thank god he isn't a teenager yet.
@wmaharper (2316)
• United States
14 Jul 07
I personally do not like the counting thing either...for some reason it bothers me, I know it works well for others, but I, like you, want compliance with the first request. Sure, kids will be kids, but I dont' think 5 is too young to begin expecting compliance the first time. we have begun timing our son. we tell him he has 2 minutes to pick up his toys, if they are not put away by then, he will recieve a time-out (spanking, revoking rights, whichever you choose, just always be consistent with what you choose) He has been doing better. he's not yet 3 and listens the first time about 80 percent of the time.. Also, if you don't like a form of discipline, don't use it. I noticed in another of your posts, you said you don't really like to spank him.. (who does right?) but if you don't have confidence that it's the right form of discipline for your kids, don't use it, otherwise they'll sense that. Good luck to you. Hope you can get him to step up a bit, also, don't worry so much about kindergarden, children learn that their teacher will not tolerate certain behaviours.. when I worked with children, it was amazing to hear the parents talk about their kids and how they couldn't get them to ever behave.. these were the same kids that ALWAYS listened in class and never crossed the line.. so just b/c he doesn't always listen at home, doesn't mean he won't listen in class.
• United States
13 Jul 07
I have a grandaughter who just turned six she is quite hyper and doesnt follow directions well unless I actually stop her and have her look at me tell her then and have her repeat it that works alot of the time but not always ids will be kids