Why is it so hard to ignore our children?

“I don’t want to leave,” she yells from the back seat. “I want to go to ChickFila.”

I calmly tell her that maybe we can get ChickFila on Friday, but not today.


Her voice grows louder and louder, in turn causing my calmness to fly right out the window.

“Well with an attitude like that, we aren’t even going to get it on Friday.”

She starts to kick the back of the seat and I swiftly reach out around and swat at her legs. “NO MA’AM. When we get home, you will not get lunch. You will go straight to your room.”

Then the crying starts. I set my jaw, turn up the radio and continue on our way.

Over and over and over  I hear “but I don’t want to go to my room.” I say nothing. She said it so many times her brother begged her to stop. Still I say nothing.

What seemed like ten minutes but was probably only 180 seconds passed and she kept going.

I say nothing.

Finally there was silence. Then a little voice utters “Mommy, I stopped crying. May I please have lunch before I go to my room?”

Only then did I acknowledge her and the horrible moment was over.

I took a deep breath and congratulated myself. I had successfully ignored her until the bad behavior stopped.

Why is that so incredibly hard to do?

Why is it so hard to ignore our children when they are misbehaving?

More often than not when my children are having a fit, I end up equally as upset. I’m fuming at this pint sized beast and acting exactly how I’m asking them not to act.

Superb parenting skills I tell you.

But when I can remember to breathe and ignore the little turkeys, 9 times out of 10 the episode ends in a much quicker manner. Isn’t that what we all want? For the whining, crying and tantrums to stop?

Children crave our attention. They need it and most of the time we give it to them. But sometimes…sometimes, we need to withhold it so they can realize their actions aren’t appropriate.

When they demand things from me, I ask them to try again. I don’t require them to say please all the time, but they must ask respectfully. If they can’t, I then ignore them until they figure it out.

When I remember to do it, it totally works.

Ignoring them allows me to stay unemotional. It’s the hardest thing for me to do as a parent. I’m a naturally emotional person. We bought the book 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children and it made total sense to me. When you get emotional, the child feels like they’ve won. Here is this itty bitty person and they can make this big, grown adult get angry, excited and yell and scream.

But if I stay calm, speak in a normal voice and then go about my business without focusing on them, it’s so much better…for all parties involved.

I need to continue to work on it. Every day is a challenge as my daughter can push my buttons like no one I’ve ever known. But I can do it. I know I can.


Do you ignore your children? What are your discipline tricks? Please share in the comments. Some days I need all the help I can get.

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  1. says

    Ignoring can sometimes work really well. I have a toddler, not at an age when she can control her big emotions or think for herself. So ignoring probably won’t do her much good. She might end up being flooded with emotional hormones in her body and her brain which is bad. I muster all my patience to help her through it. The key is to think of how I want her to deal with it if she encounters upsetting experience in the future. If no one models that behavior for her, she won’t know how to. So being calm myself and guiding her is important. However, my patience is not infinite. So sometimes I have to “time-out” myself, i.e. ignore, to avoid blowing up in front of her, another skill I want her to have (the cool down, not the blow up part).

    But for older children, things can be different because they have “some” decision making ability. I actually thought a lot about tantrums and tried to do much research on it. Here’s my article on what I found scientifically. Some apply to older children, too. Hope it helps :) http://www.rookieparenting.com/dealing-with-toddler-temper-tantrums/

  2. says

    Sometimes the ignore trick works for Sophia other times not so much. I use a countdown as well after she denies what I’ve asked her to do (“you have five seconds to get your shoes; 5, 4, 3, etc.” and stop once she’s on her way). Time outs also work on occasion but I save them for when she’s hurt someone or she’s so emotionally out of control there’s no talking with her.


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