5 Year Old Behavior Problems Not Listening – 6 Ways to Gain Control Back

5 Year Old Behavior Problems Not Listening

It is not uncommon for 5 year olds to become defiant and ignore their parent’s requests as they get older.

Even the best-behaved kids can be difficult and challenging at times.

At 5 years old your child has learnt the fundamentals of what behaviour is appropriate and what to do and say to get what they want.

Unfortunately for you, this can sometimes mean that they disobey direct requests as they have learnt that they can get what they want without abiding by rules.

Related: 5 Year Old Temper Tantrums

5 year olds crave attention and will do almost anything to get it.

At this stage of their developmental life, they are seeking their own independence more and more each day.

They tend to have persistent patterns of anger, irritability, and defiance or vindictive towards parents, older siblings, and caregivers.

As this independence grows they find it more and more challenging to listen to authority.

Being their parent you are the highest form of authority so you will eventually become more and more challenged as they seek greater independence.

5 Year Old Behavior Problems Not Listening Problems

Here are the 5 biggest mistakes most parents make and the most effective ways to reduce your  5 year old behavior problems.

5 Year Old Behavior Problems Not Listening Problems

1. Provide positive re-enforcement for compliant behaviour.

If your 5 year old not listening and talking back then you should focus on positive re-enforcement.

Many parents make the fatal mistake of getting too frustrated and angry at their children when they do something wrong.

The issue then arises when your child doesn’t receive that same attention when they do something right.

For example:

You ask your son to ‘ Fold away your clothes and get ready for bed’ He complies almost immediately.

You check for yourself and you can see that it is done, so you thank him.

Next, he jumps on his computer game and you ask him to turn it off and brush his teeth.

He asks for 5 more minutes, but you say no, he tries to resist.

This goes on for 10 minutes and then you snap, start to shout, get aggressive and send him to his room without a good night kiss.

What behaviour do you think your son has learnt?  

Most probably it’s that doing the right thing doesn’t get him the praise or attention that he desires and aggressive behaviour is an appropriate form of expression.

Learning to channel your attention in positive ways and ensure you always outweigh the positive behaviour as opposed to the disruptive behaviour is a very important stepping stone in ensuring your child stays on track.  

2. Are their basic needs met?

Learning how to get my 5 year old to listen and behave has alot to do with their basic needs.

If your child is tired, hungry, thirsty or under & over-stimulated you’ll always be fighting a losing battle.

Children can easily be side-tracked and a hungry or tired child will never listen adequately to your requests.

Try to keep a journal of when your child is most defiant and you may begin o see a pattern.

Usually, children who have behaviour problems tend to do things in a particular order.

Check to see if they display disruptive and defiant behaviour at a particular time of day or in a specific place.

For example, if your son seems to be ‘acting out’ just before lunchtime it could be a telltale sign that they are overly exhausted from afternoon activities or a bit hungry between the gap from breakfast and now.

Try to factor in more rest time or a healthy snack to ensure their basic needs are fulfilled.

3. Set your rules and stick to them

Set your rules and stick to them

Children are very smart. They can pick holes in your rules and then watch you implode from the inside out.

Many 5 year-old tantrums and not listening problems occur due to lack of consistency.

If you have a particular set of rules or way of doing things that work, then stick to it.

Too often parents have a system in place that works but then they deviate from it and problems occur.

For example, if you have a rule that after 3 times asking your child to do something, they don’t do it then you take away a toy.

This works well and he responds to the threats by listening to your commands.

However, on a few occasions, you don’t follow through on your promise or give him more than 2 chances.

Now the next time you ask him, he calls your bluff and realises that your threats are sometimes empty.

Now he only listens to your commands when he feels like it.

Try to make your life a little easier by setting your rules and sticking to them as much as possible.

4. Tell them what you want, not what they should do.

Learning how to get my 5 year old to listen and behave comes down to your parenting style.

Children learn from open-ended instructions better than closed instructions and a simple change in language can get you a long way.

For example, Your child wants to play with his bubbles but every time he does he spills it on the floor.

You say ‘Stop playing with the bubbles you are spilling them!’

This is a closed-ended instruction and doesn’t serve as instructional.

Instead, try “Sweetie, I know you want to play with the bubbles but you are making a little mess. Let’s pour out a small amount of mixture into a new container and you can play with that one. If you make a mess we can clean it up together”

This is a good example of an opened ended instruction and teaches your child what they are doing wrong and how to fix it,

5. Role Model

Role Model

If your 5 year old not listening and talking back then you need to start thinking outside the box.

Children mimic their parents and this can be the best way to reduce any severe behaviour problems your child may have.

Being a positive role model will show your child what to do and how to do it.

If you don’t want your child to be aggressive then you can’t show them aggression when you are mad or frustrated with the choices they are making.

Children not only mimic what you say and do but the way you say and do it.

Try to adapt your style of parenting to how you expect them to act.

6. Create a reward chart

Create a reward chart


Studies show that children who believe they are living up to your expectations have a more fulfilled temperament which means less defiant behaviour and more positive behaviour.

Learning How to discipline a 5 year old for not listening comes down to constructive feedback.

Creating a simple reward chart that shows what behaviour is expected and recognition of when that behaviour is achieved is a great way to build self-esteem, build self-awareness to promote positive and compliant behaviour.

You can create it together with your child and can even have special reward systems for being extra well behaved or performing day to day tasks efficiently.

If your child is not listening to you then you must show them the consequences of their behaviour.

if you are having 5 Year Old Behavior Problems Not Listening Issues then you should try to provide a framework or a guideline that promotes independence but not defiance.

This can be difficult to do at first but if you stick to the guidelines you’ll find it that much easier to manage your children.

Here’s a quick video on How To Get Your Child To Listen And Behave.

Related Post: How Can a Father Walk Out on His Child?

2 thoughts on “5 Year Old Behavior Problems Not Listening – 6 Ways to Gain Control Back”

  1. I completely agree with you! My 5-year-old son has been having a lot of trouble listening and following instructions lately, and it’s been so frustrating for me as a parent. I’m going to try some of the strategies you mentioned in this post, like using positive reinforcement and setting clear boundaries. I hope they help me regain control and improve our relationship.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m glad you found the strategies helpful. It’s definitely challenging, but positive reinforcement and clear boundaries can make a big difference. Wishing you the best in improving your relationship with your son!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top