PARENTS

Scientists Explain Why Kids Don't Listen

And how you can get them to.

06/30/2017 13:03 EDT | Updated 06/30/2017 13:03 EDT

If your child doesn't listen to you, it's not your fault... nor theirs.

According to Dr. Deborah MacNamara, a clinical counsellor and director of Kid's Best Bet, humans are hardwired to be oppositional, and that's a good thing.

JGI/Jamie Grill via Getty Images

In a piece for Motherly, MacNamara explains that people have a "counterwill" that lead them to resist, counter, and oppose whenever they feel controlled or coerced.

"You can feel it arise inside of you when someone tells you what to think, do, or feel," she explains. "This isn't a mistake or a flaw in human nature, and, like all instincts, serves an important function. The challenge for parents is that immaturity makes a child more prone to expressions of resistance."

The good news is that children are less likely to resist direction from people they are attached to. So if a stranger tells them to get in their van, your child is more likely to put up a fight.

Flying Colours Ltd

But don't fret — just because your child isn't listening to you doesn't mean they don't feel close to you. According to MacNamara, children resist direction from guardians they are attached to because they are still feeling controlled and confined.

To combat this, MacNamara says parents should appeal to a child's "want-to" desires instead of making them feel like they have to, a thought shared by HuffPost Canada's parenting expert, Alyson Schafer.

JGI/Jamie Grill via Getty Images
saiyood

"We really want our children to be cooperative human beings rather than obedient to our instructions," Schafer told HuffPost Canada in a video about getting your toddler to listen to you.

To do that, Schafer suggests giving your child options and actions, because children are experiential learners.

Kids still aren't listening to you? The experts at Aha! Parenting share 10 ways to get a child to listen, from waiting until they're paying attention to setting up a routine.