“My Kids Don’t Listen To Me”

My Kids Don't Listen to Me // jessconnell.com

Is this you?

Many moms land here from search engine queries that boil down to one thing: their kids don’t listen to them. This mom is weary of fighting what feels like an uphill battle for respect and well-disciplined children, and she’s looking for answers. She has a niggling feeling that things don’t have to be this way, but then at the same time, she can fall prey to discouragement and may doubt that there’s any other way.

Perhaps you feel this way sometimes?

To help you, I’ve collected my top articles about disciplining your children all here in one place:


I hope you’ve found some articles here to prod you along in your growth as a mom. I’ve love to hear your feedback.

The main thing I want to tell you is this: it really IS possible to love your kids AND discipline them well. It really IS possible to have a good relationship AND, at the same time, insist that they respect you. It’s not an impossible dream; working to bless your kids in this way is a worthy goal!



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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

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17 Responses

  1. Charisa says:

    I find it so encouraging when I get to spend time with other families who have well disciplined and respectful children. It is such a good reminder that IT IS POSSIBLE. A realistic and attainable goal. It helps keep me on track and reminded that with God’s strength and grace, our family can be that way too.

  2. Debbie Coleman says:

    I would say in this season of my life as a grandparent, the consistent thing I do as a mom and grandma is to pray. (For my husband, myself as a role model to my grandkids, whatever help I can be to my kids, spouses, praying for kids and spouses and grandkids.

  3. Sandrine says:

    A related question maybe… what to do when you have to spend time with people who do not have the same way to educate their children (church events, for example)? We have come across one case recently (someone who was not watching his son, who was behaving like a five-year old without supervision could do, and the dad would not intervene, even after being told two or three times that his son was causing trouble). We feel like we have an extra child to watch for on top of our five, and we cannot really discipline him like we would do ours! Doing nothing is not really an option, though, especially after I saw him cornering my two-year old and hitting him… And my two oldest (6 and 5) begin to be influenced by him and do stuff they would never do normally, like physically fight each other. I did put a stop to this quickly, though, and it was an opportunity to explain that our standards were what they were expected to follow, even if others do differently, but this can be quite a challenge.

    • Jess Connell says:

      Yeah… big challenge there. One we all face at some point or other.

      This is where a few things converge:
      (1) Not leaving kids alone… so if there’s someone who is being a bully or hateful (which sounds like this boy is doing), my kids get pulled even closer.
      (2) Opting out of optional events with this person.
      (3) Finding the right combo of these two things: directness (which it sounds like you’ve done– telling the dad about his son’s behavior… I would also add the possibility of a mature, Christian father going to this man and addressing it directly with him) and using the proper channels of authority (so at a church event, elders, or those who are over that event)

      You know that verse, “The poor you will always have with you?” I think, “the disobedient and unruly you will always have with you,” could be a truth that has certainly been the case throughout my time as a mom. Little sinners are… well… all of them… but then we also have to deal with their parents who don’t deal with things or address things. So we muddle through the best we can. These are the things I’ve found helpful.

      I wonder if anyone else would have thoughts to add?

      • Sandrine says:

        Thanks! This sounds like what we were thinking. Number one is the first thing we did. Number two is not an option, though. As for number 3, my husband said he would talk to the dad himself if it was going on, because maybe that would have more impact coming from another man than from a woman. We just hope we don’t need to go further than that. Part of the problem, I think, is that the mom doesn’t come to church with her husband and children, and the father seems to think that it is a woman’s job to look after young kids, so the women who are there can do it. We are willing to help, sure, but there is a point where he needs to take responsibility for his son too…

  4. Hannah says:

    Hi Jess, thanks for your blog it has really encouraged me since I discovered it a year or so ago. I’m a mum of two (3 and 16m) and was wondering if you had any specific advice about encouraging 3 year olds with regards to eating new things. We try and get him to try something newish once or twice a week and it often ends up with half an hour or so of howling (he’s not allowed anything else if he doesn’t try or his favourite cereal the next morning) before he’ll reluctantly try something. I’m reluctant to ‘force’ him with threat of discipline as I don’t want to turn food into a major battle ground and I think some of it is that fear that kids his age get about putting unfamiliar things in his mouth but also want to avoid the long drawn out wailing it has become and for him to get used to trying new things with a positive attitude…any thoughts?
    Hannah in England

    • Jess Connell says:

      Hi Hannah, sorry to just now be responding.

      I would not make eating the battleground, but –that said– I do require that they eat some of everything. What I mean by that is this: my battles are fought elsewhere, but my authority is used to influence their eating. So I can and will (after I’ve consistently proven to them that I am committed to out-stubborn them for their own good) take on a food battle, but I prefer to just insist that they eat once they’ve already (in other areas) given into the idea that I am their authority.

      So, for example, I’d tend to outlast and be FIERCE about obeying me about not having a tantrum, or about picking up the toys if I ask them to, or about taking their diaper to the trash, or about staying in bed at night… but once they’ve already yielded to me in other areas, it makes mealtime things easier. They know I am the authority. They know that it’s no use trying to outlast me, whine, complain, moan, stomp, fuss, whatever… so then it makes mealtimes not (typically) combative.

      OK, that said, I also don’t press things they find particularly gross. Each of my kids is allowed to have one (give or take) thing they really don’t like. I don’t make them eat it, but I also am not a short-order-cook and will not make them something different. By choosing not to eat with the family, they are choosing to either eat something they can make for themselves (cheese & crackers?) or not eat.

      I would also coach in advance: “we’re about to have lunch. You are to eat what you’re given and be polite and thankful. You are not to grump or fuss. If you do, you will get X.” Give him the proactive teaching to know what to do when he sees something on his plate that he doesn’t know if he’ll like. Tell him how you want him to handle that.

      Sometimes I even say, “instead of thinking, ‘YUCK, I’m never gonna like that; it’s terrible! it’s green! I’ll never like it.’ I want you to think, “Mom and Dad like it. They say it’s good. I’m going to try it and see if it might be something I’ll like. It could be really tasty!” Helping them give voice to their thoughts and to replace them with beneficial, winsome thoughts with a positive approach to the world is giving them tools that will benefit them for their whole lives.

      Does this help?

  5. Diana says:

    Hello! I am new to your blog but am greatly enjoying it! I am looking forward to reading through this list of posts. I struggle greatly as a parent, though I have also grown much in the nine years that I’ve been parenting, and I’m always wanting to learn more. Thank you for all your writing!!


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