What can I do when my child does not obey me?

After the first birthday, children tend to become more self-centered. You might find your child frequently testing your limits and trying to have his own way. This is the first ‘rebel period’ in his development and is a natural phenomenon. He is not doing it intentionally. At this time, it is most important for you to help your child learn what he can and cannot do. Use a firm and positive discipline approach, set up basic ground rules and daily routines to help your child in following rules. By doing so, it helps to prevent frequent disobedience and temper tantrums.

How can I reduce the disobedient behaviours of my child?

If you keep on not allowing your child to do this and that all day, the chance of him being disobedient is higher. As prevention is better than cure, apart from being consistent with basic ground rules and daily routines, you also need to make your home child-proof to minimize unnecessary worries about him. Lock up things you don’t want your child to touch and put gates to block areas that may be dangerous.

When your child is busy engaging in play, he will have less time to get into trouble. Nevertheless, do not expect him to play on his own for a long time, as a child’s attention span is short. Spend more time to have interesting activities with him, such as building blocks, playing ball games, singing, dancing and having pretend plays. Follow his interests to change activities. Remember to praise him when he engages in the activities.

What can I do if my child still does not follow after repeated instructions?

If you give instructions inappropriately, your child may not follow them readily. Gain your child’s attention before you give instructions. You can go near him, call his name and bend down to his eye level. The instruction needs to be brief, specific and should match with his ability. It would be better to give it with gestures, and allow him to do it step by step. Let him finish what he is doing on hand before asking him to do what you request, such as waiting till the commercial break of the TV progrmame or after he has completed with his block building. Wait for around 5 seconds for him to respond. Praise him when he follows your instructions. If he does not obey, you need to distract his attention according to the situation. Usually describing the things you want him to do into something funny will work.