DS, 5.5, having trouble listening....

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
DS, 5.5, having trouble listening....
Tue, 05-20-2003 - 2:55pm
It's been a very long time since I posted, so hello to all the new people and greetings again to everyone I met before!

I have a problem that I need some serious help with. Our DS is having a very hard time listening to people. At first I let it just go as a simple 5 y/o thing, but I think there is something more going on and I just don't know what to do anymore. I'm at my wits end!

Let me give some examples:

We signed him up for pee wee flag football in our community. While the rest of the boys on his team follow instructions well from their coaches and really do a nice job playing the game, our DS is usually standing in the group, but he has no idea what's going on. His eyes are watching everything else around him, his ears are not listening to his coaches and he usually sits down or picks grass or jumps/runs/hops in place. It's like he has so many other better things to do!

At pre-school, his teacher has told me that he does just fine with diretions and can sit and listen without a problem. I'm not actually worried about him at school. I've even observed him there without him knowing and while he doesn't always participate in songs or things, he is listening and watching the teacher.

At home, we'll ask him to do things and he says NO and then walks away to do other things. We've tried to be patient with him and we've often repeated ourselves silly in order for him to understand that there is no other alternative, but it usually ends in a fight. When DS is engrossed in something like coloring or playing Legos or watching TV, he can't hear anything else going on around him. You literally have to either stand in front of him (to which he yells at us) or touch him to let him know you're talking. We have NO problem with doing that, but I think this just all ties in together.

My DH seems to be having the hardest time with this since he has a shorter fuse than I do and it gets very tiresome to hear the same arguments over and over and over again. DH gets so angry with DS for not listening and following simple instructions.

I just wonder if there is something other than regular 5 y/o stuff going on here. Anyone have some clues?

Loving wife to David (3-2

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 05-20-2003 - 5:18pm
Hi. As for it being more than the usual 5 yr old stuff, I am not sure. But while reading your post I would have sworn you were writing about my son Cody. He is also 5 1/2 (he will be 6 in late November). My DH and DS have the same arguements as my DH also has a much shorter fuse than I. Even though I have no answers for you, I wanted you to know you are not alone. If anyone has any advice, it would be much appreciated.


Avatar for inmommyworld
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 05-20-2003 - 5:54pm
Hello, my ds will be 5 next week. We too have listening problems. Lately it's getting worse, he flat out ignores me or covers his ears, especially when he has little playmates over. I ask him at least 3 times to do everything, brush teeth, put shoes on--anything. One day he got upset with me and said I didn't ask him nicely! I thought about it and I was probably using a "not-so-nice" tone. So, I always ask him calmly first, then after the 3rd time, I remind him that I have asked him "nicely" to do whatever, and that if I have to ask again I will get angry. What a pain! We too stand right in front of him and look directly at him, to make sure he is listening AND hearing what we say. So, I have no great advice for you, but I can totally understand what your going through. I wonder if other mom's have to repeat themselves over and over like I do!


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 05-20-2003 - 9:58pm
I think that the selective hearing and attention can be "normal" at any age. My 4yo does it quite often and my 7yo does it at times. (Heck, even my 33yo DH does too...) At least 1/2 of the t-ballers at our ballpark do exactly what you described in re: to the flag football.

I don't know if you remember me from another board or not, but many (unqualified) people insisted that my DS was ADHD because of concerns similar to yours. He's made some great progress since then. Fortunately, maturity and training have done wonders for him. And if it turned out that he was ADHD and needed meds, that would have been fine too. As long as it enabled him to function, KWIM?

Some of the things we've done is: role playing to show him how it feels much better to have someone listen to *him*. Keep the reminder short and simple. We'll say "its time to brush your teeth" and get no response. Then its a reminder (and a tap on the shoulder, if needed): "...teeth", then its a consequence.

Anyone can "tune-out" or "hyperfocus". Since your child is doing well at pre-k, then its probably not a major problem. I would try to work with him (without the arguing....i know, when you are fed up its so hard not too. BTDT many times myself! and all it seems to do is give them a thrill that they've gotten you all worked up.) Keep trying...



and her two "whirlwinds"
     DS-13 & DD-9

Avatar for teddyfor2
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 05-21-2003 - 9:53am
I honestly don't think you need to worry. Dylan is 6 tommorrow and there's still kids on his baseball team that do the things your ds does. Kids mature at different rates.

Your son seems to be doing fine at preschool. My kids have always had very selective listing with me and dh. They listen at school, but with us it's different. We try to give them 5 minute warnings while they're playing. I used to set the timer also. That way when the timer went off, they knew it was time to stop playing and clean up. To this day if they get very defiant about it, we take whatever it was away for a while. Dylan has been a pain lately and I need to remember, consistancy, consistancy. It does pay off.

And remember, this too shall pass.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 05-21-2003 - 9:58am
My DS who is 7 is a lot like that. I recently got a whole slew of books from the library about parenting difficult children (for my 6 yr old) and one of them talked about the "inattentive child" and the description fit my DS to a tee, which sounds like your ds.

Basically what it said is that they process information a lot differently than other kids & it's just the way they are. They will be outstanding in certain areas (like knowing directions to get somewhere they've only been once) but fall short in other areas, just because of the nature of the problem & how they assimilate info. They are always thinking of other things & assimilating that info rather than the info that's being presented to them. I'm so sorry I just cant for the life of me remember the name of the book but it said that it doesnt mean there's anything wrong with the child, just the way they take in, and process information. Maybe it was "the Challenging Child" by Stanley Greenspan. Not positive on that.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 05-22-2003 - 9:18pm
HIYA! Long time no see!!! Welcome back!

It just sounds to me like distractions interfere with his concentration, as they do with anyone else. We, as adults, really do have to limit the interferences. At age five, their bodies are on overload with energy, physical energy, and they really can't help but to keep moving....that includes eye muscles as well. If he is interested I bet he does fine. If he is familiar with it, I bet he does fine, right? It's just a matter of fine tuning his listening skills. I know myself, if I have too many things going on around me, it is very hard to have a conversation. If I am tossed into a new socail circle, it takes me a while to feel comfortable enough to pay attention to the objective. At first, I'm too busy observing and scanning the scene, LOL! Make sure you look into his eyes when you speak to him, even if he wants to look else where. Have him repeat what you said so you and he both know what he is going to do. He will be annoyed, because it interferes with his body that is telling him to "just keep going, man" (LOL) but he will adjust. He has to....this is the start of a whole new ball game. Paying attention is essential, so we have to teach our children how to master that skill. Also, make sure that YOU pay full attention to him when he requests it,a nd look away from what YOU are doing when you speak to him. If you talk while working on the dishes, or half listen while you work on the pc, he is learning that type of communication. *blush....I recently had a revolation in my house*. Ask him what his intersst are, too, BTW. Does he enjoy the football, or is he so nervous about it he can't concentrate? KWIM? Those types of things.

Good luck, mommy! Great to see you again!

Janet =)

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