How Do You Mom's Judge When to Ignore Behavior?

Updated on June 15, 2011
A.G. asks from Orem, UT
8 answers

I have a son who I KNOW acts up to get attention....majority of the time ignoring it has the best results. I'm just curious, how do other mom's decide when to ignore a behavior and when to firmly and immediately address so the child knows it's not right? Sometimes it seems like my child tries to see how far he can go with my still ignoring the behavior...if the behavior is with the intent to get attention, than I don't want to ignore it and than eventually give it attention because it's gotten 'bad enough' - that seems to defeat the purpose. Anyway...just curious how other mom's handle similar situations!

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So What Happened?

Thanks for the input! I remember when I realized that most of my daughters issues (child #1) stemmed from control, and most of my sons issues (child #2) stemmed from was very enlightening. When he was two...sometimes I would make a phone call...and if I didn't set him up doing something else...or if he felt like I had 'abandoned' him to take the call...he would go around the kitchen unscrewing the knobs. I mean, REALLY?? I remember closing my eyes and thinking "At least he's not hitting anybody or doing any damage." :p The past 2 nights we've had sick kids (and slightly sick me)'s when I'm tired that I really struggle with this. I've gotten some extra rest this morning...and now I'm feeling MUCH more like I handle it...thanks for all the suggestions!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Be careful-it sounds like he may be looking for his boundry and when he doesn't find it the behavior escalates. All kids need to know where their boundry is even if it doesn't seem like they do. I would give him the smackdown as soon as it starts next time. Warn him what you will do if he does it again and then follow through. I would recommend spending the day in his room for starters.

The behavior I ingnore is usually along the lines of poopy talk or just something that is annoying me but isn't really bad in and of itself.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Pittsburgh on

When my son isn't hurting himself, hurting anyone else, hurting the house(!), using inappropriate language, being disrespectful or annoying anyone else, I ignore it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

If it is whiny, rude talking/behavior when it first starts I address it simply saying "I do not understand or listen to this type of behavior, it is inappropriate" and if my daughter continues I say "you will stop that now otherwise you will go to your room till you apologize and can behave/act/talk respectably." At that point my daughter will either stomp to her room, or change her attitude/behavior. She can do whatever in her room, as long as she stays there till she apologizes and no longer has fowl behavior/attitude. Now I started this when she was 3 years old, she will be 5 years old in two months and it finally seems to be taking (within a minute or two she apologizes for her behavior and is joyful to be around again).

I guess I say I ignore the issue but I do address it first, sent to room second till apolizes & changes, while in her room I do ignore it. Othertimes when she is demanding something instead of asking for it polietly I will give her a blank stare, if she does not get the hint I say I believe you are missing something or trying asking again correctly.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I ignore unless it is seriously dangerous (to my kids, to others, or to property) or if he would be getting attention from someone else (like my daughter copying everything her older brother does). Sometimes I find I have to tell him what is inappropriate and that I will ignore it and that tends to get a faster change in behavior. Good luck.


answers from Provo on

Tough question. I don't really have any answers, but I saw that you are from Provo and though I had to say Hi! It's rare to fine a Utah County-er on here!


answers from Tampa on

If it's annoying, but not harmful or inappropriate - I leave it. If it's harmful, inappropriate or causing an issue - I immediately put a stop to it.


answers from St. Louis on

If I know the behavior is attention seeking I just say, well you seem bored what would you like to do? Then we use our words. :)

Honestly it is as easy as knowing why they attention seek. They are bored or they want your attention. It is not giving in to the behavior to address the underlying cause.



answers from Denver on

For my two cents, I don't think ignoring any poor behavior works. If you don't like how they are acting, correct it, if they do not listen send them to time out. No negotiating, no arguing, it is my rules not theirs. I have done this consistently with my kids and all three so far are extremely well behaved and respectful and I certainly do not plan to change with my 5 month old.

Good luck!

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