Is My 4 Year Old Lazy???

Updated on March 19, 2008
J.D. asks from Stuart, IA
16 answers

OK thats probably not the best way to put it but couldn't think of anything else. LOL. Sorry. I will start at the beginning. My son just turned 4 in December. He had been ignoring me for some time. I tried to discipline him but it was not even effecting him. Well then I started to think maybe he actually can't hear me. So I brought it up to my husband and we decided to have his hearing checked. Well the test came back inconclusive and we have to take him back in another month. But he did have some hearing loss in his right ear. It has been a month since the test. He has so far changed his approach. He has been using it as an excuse more and more. I don't want him to use his disabilities as a crutch! I want him to overcome them and be whatever he wants to be despite that he MIGHT have hearing loss. Its not even that much hearing loss. He is driving me crazy because I will ask him if he wants to do something and he will say NO I can't hear good enough to do that. It could be something fun or it could be a chore. I have now started disciplining him for not doing his chores like putting toys away and such especially if he uses his ear as the excuse not to. I understand if he broke his arm or something but this is a little rediculous!!! How can I help him to get over this and also help me not get so frustrated with him. Thanks

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So What Happened?

Well I want to thank everyone for there advice. We have come up with an award chart that he gets a star when he does what he is told. We recieved a print out of his hearing test in the mail this week and his ear is NOT that bad at all. He can here at a 30% at one pitch range and it just gets better from there. 20% is normal range. So its not bad at all. We showed him the results and talk to him about it and he admitted to us that he was just not wanting to do his chores. So YES I have a smart boy. He now knows we are on to him and he has been alot better lately. It seems to get the worst when he is tired and just doens't want to do anything so his choice now is to do what he is asked or go take a Nap or go to bed. He has taken naps now voluntarily. and also gone to bed early all on his own. I think he thought if it wasn't bedtime then he couldn't go to bed or he would be in trouble. LOL. We have actually moved his bedtime down from 9 to 8:30 and he has been happier. So has my daughter. Thank you again

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answers from Sioux Falls on

I dont think he is lazy, I think he is testing you on this new and possibly scary time for him. You just need to keep being consistant and show him people who dont see themselves as handicap, like the actress who is deaf, sorry I dont remember her name. If you watch TV, she will be on the Dancing with Stars this time. There is nothing wrong with teaching him that Cant is a bad word either. I grew up with a learning disability and people basically thought I was unteachable or dumb, but I was determined to get thru school and to get into college (graduated 1992 from HS and 1995 with an AA in Early Child Development). Good Luck!

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answers from Green Bay on

Hello J.,

My daughter has had a hearing loss in her left ear since birth. She can hear perfect in her right ear and only 50% in her left. She is almost 4 now and can hear well enough to follow directions. As one of the other mom's commented it does sound like he might be a spirited or strong willed child and is just using that as an excuse. Most of the time I forget she has a hearing loss and the only time it is noticable is when she is on the phone (she obviously can only use her right ear). So unless you have been told that his loss is more than 50% I would guess that the loss of hearing is not the problem for his not listening. But it is good that you have found out about the hearing loss. From all of the people I have talked to children with one good ear would be able to survive in school but might have some difficulties in school hearing the teacher for example if there is a lot of background noise from the other kids. Therefore as parents it is important to let their teachers now about the hearing loss, maybe have the child sit in the front of class and if you really want to make sure that they don't have any difficulties in school have them wear a hearing aid. We are trying to get my daughter to wear one but it is hard. She will have it in for an hour or so and then it itches and she takes it out. I guess we don't push it too much since I know she can hear just fine at home. I just want her to start wearing one in school.

Best of luck to you. - MN

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answers from Minneapolis on


I like what everyone else had to say. To add, I would say absolutely drop the issue that he might have a hearing loss. If he hears you talk about it (they are so good at hearing things that were intended only for other people - no matter their hearing level,) he is going to continue to bring it up. This will become a major manipulation tactic and eventually he will label himself this way.

Chances are, this possible minimal hearing loss will not affect his life much at all. If you hadn't had him tested, no one would even know about it. If the tests are inconclusive he may hear just fine and have a great ability to ignore people when he wants to (i.e. selective hearing.) Everybody in this world is disabled to some extent; some just more than others and some in ways they have a name for. Don't catagorize your son as "disabled" because he is not.

If he pulls the "I can't clean my room because I can't hear" I would ignore the comment. Respond like he said, "I don't feel like cleaning my room" because essentially, that is what he said. It is appropriate to address the hearing issue if he says he needs to get a good seat at storytime because he can't hear the librarian or something to that effect.

Good luck with your very smart little boy,

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answers from Milwaukee on

Hi J.,

I can understand your frustration. That's kids in general these days.

My 21 year old son whenever we yell for him (his room is upstairs) he claims to never "hear" us.

I almost died laughing yesterday...He was charging his phone in the kitchen (downstairs) and heard his phone beep (he got a text message) from upstairs. He came running down the steps and grabbed his phone. I looked at him and said, "are you kidding me?!@!!" You can hear that all the way upstairs but you can't hear us when we call you to pick up your stuff!?

Our kids will do things if we ask them and then we leave. For some reason they don't want us watching them, I think then they know that we know they are actually doing something. Who knows. I think you just have to keep things light. Our son was a slow learner. I didn't let him think that. I let him know that he just has to concentrate harder.

Never let them know that something is wrong. Because what the mind can conceive it can achieve. Read him a couple of chapters from "Chicken Soup" for the Soul. Find someone that overcame the ear thing. Find some of his strengths and focus on those. He will soon forget about the hearing thing. I read those alot books. My family has had to overcome some pretty amazing things in the past 25 years. More than most kids had to endure.

Focus on positive. Things will turn around.


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answers from Omaha on

First of all.. breathe. Its possible there could be more going on than just hearing loss. Have him tested for any learning disabilities or delays. We had similar situation and my son has slow processing..not that yours does. Its good to have all bases covered.. then you know to handle it better.
Good luck
Laurie p.s.. you sound frustrated.. and just to be helpful, try to remain calm. Results are usually better when we are calm.



answers from Waterloo on

You and your husband need to be on the same page on this. also, the son needs to be respnsible and maybe by taking things away is he doesn't pick up his toys by a certain time, he's not blind, or he goes to bed early. Just don't make a big deal about it just do it. It may take awhile, ltherwise check out John Rosemond's books, he from the old school.



answers from Duluth on

One of my favorite saying is: You listen like you have no earholes. I have been a daycare provider for many, many years and have had children with hearing disabilities. Without exception they have all listened to a sticker reward chart. They will work hard to gain stickers for different kinds of rewards; movies, trips to a special park, the zoo, whatever. Make the reward worthwhile to your child and see how fast he hears you.



answers from Minneapolis on

J. -

I had a laugh a little at your son - they sure do learn early how to try to manipulate us :) One thing that has worked fairly good for me, with my 4 year old son, is when he says he can't clean up (or some other task) because of one of the various excuses that he thinks of -- I simply tell him "OK, if you can't clean up because your legs are too tired, I guess it means that you won't be able to go to your friend's Birthday Party (or what ever is planned) this afternoon either." If he still won't pick up - I really stick to what I said - and it usually only takes 1 or 2 times before you will get a much different response. This works well with husbands too :) I also agree with the other response of not making a big deal about the hearing loss issue to him, and just wait until the next results come back and learn how to incorporate them into your life. Best of Luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

Your son sounds like a Spirited Child (read "Raising your Spirited Child") - 15% of children are spirited - smarter than us. These children have a different way of communicating - more complex. A child who can understand at the age of 4 the manipulative impact of having a disability is definitely a Spirited Child. I'd get the book right away - you'll soon be at ease with him and he will become the child you know he is, but don't know how to find.

Is this one your oldest? I also wonder if he isn't sad and distraught about something but doesn't know how to communicate it. Perhaps he is jealous of his sibling - and now another on the way... Spirited Children can become overwhelmed by feelings so easily.

Someone as smart as your son probably needs a lot more conversation about feelings and how to problem solve them. He needs an emotional ally - is your husband available for this? If his dad would own up to having feelings, it will be a lot easier for your son to identify his. This could be a heroic opportunity for dad.



answers from Minneapolis on

If he's not willing to use his ears to listen, then start using his eyes. Make little picture cards on a book ring that show an activity or routine (ie kitchen table for a meal, car for time to leave, toilet for-you know, etc.). Turn to the card you want to communicate to him and show it to him AND use the words.



answers from Minneapolis on

if he can hear you enough to give you a response he can hear you enough to move his little body when asked too and without mouth or attitude. I hear your frustrations and he may be testing you although the hearing complications may be legitimate, but not enough to where he can't understand and then comply.



answers from Minneapolis on

Sounds like you have a smart little guy there! I would make two recommendations: first, don't ask him if he would like to do something unless you are willing to have him decline. Tell him, politely but firmly what you expect and give no quarter for slacking. Second, read "What the Bible Says About Child Training" by Fugate. It has some wonderful ideas on how to handle this type of thing.

SAHM of seven, I homeschool special needs kids too, and would love to communicate further.



answers from Des Moines on

Hello J.""" I am a 54 year old grandmummy, from Australia, I was invited to join this great site by another member.
We are both members of another forum.
4 year olds !!!!!!!!!!! Beautiful, wonderful amazing !!!!!!!!!!
This might be a idea to try, one of the most important things we can do with all people is be consistant, ((hard I know) I have 2 girls and 5 grandkids, 8, 4, 2, 17 months and 4 months.
Set guide lines by all means, and DON"T ASK him if he wants to do something !!!! EG< toys, maybe say, with eye contact and at his level, squat down, "HI sweetie, when the big hand is there (clock) you and I are going to put your toys away"
I don't want to take up too much space here but you are welcome to contact me.
Also if you have access to Cornell University, try their site for TCI, Good Luck, and remember LOVE, and consistancy>



answers from Lincoln on


Leave the hearing issue out of disciplining him. You are bringing it to the forefront. Don't punish him for saying he can't hear, only for not doing what he is supposed to do. He has to get used to this hearing challenge. You also said the test was inconclusive, so wait until you get the full results. It could be his hearing is worse (let's hope not).

If you want him to accept his hearing challenge, then love him for who he is and treat him like you would any of your children. Don't ignore the hearing problem, but don't make it the forefront of his life either.

Once you let this go, he will learn to as well.

L. :)



answers from Minneapolis on

Hello, I am a preschool teacher and I hear this all the time. We have a child who also says that he can't hear any of the directions i give. We started making picture cards and putting them up during playtime, clean-up... maybe you could create a few picture cards and use them in conjuction with a verbal direction, the I can't hear excuse will disapear( because you know he can see!!!) T.



answers from Sheboygan on

I am a hearing impaired mother of five. I lost my hearing when I was 2 years old but my mom didn't know until I was almost three. My mom used to say she felt awful for all the times that she yelled at me for not doing things when she later found out that it was not that I was being lazy or ignoring her but I simply just could not hear her. Some tips that I could give you from personal experience- when speaking to your child always talk in front of him to make sure that even if he can't hear you maybe(if you're lucky)he can read your lips-apparently I taught myself at the age of two to do this. This will also help him see your facial expression if there is some confusion as to what it is you want him to do he can maybe figure out by your expression-to this day if I didn't quite get what someone said I can usually figure it out by looking at their face. Another thing I want you to keep in mind is his age and the things that kids do at that age-testing their limit and what they can get away with and all-down to the excuses he makes; he's seeing what he's allowed to get away with, but at the same time try to remember that this is a difficult time to-he's trying to come to grips with the way his world is now-limited hearing and all and make adjustments which if you think about it; if you yourself as an adult had to make that kind of change in your life it may be difficult to understand(especially for a child) and adapt. His world of understanding things has now taken a new turn and he has to function differently to go and understand and do things. Believe me it can definitely be tiring and frustrating for me at times(especially in groups) to keep up with all that is going on(and thats for me as an adult-try to imagine how much harder it is for a child). The best advice I could give would be patient, kind and understanding-I'm not saying let him do whatever he wants, he still needs to follow rules and listen to you just take a step back and try to understand his frustrations as well, be firm but with compassion. For example-(YOU)-"Please pick up your toys because someone is coming over soon." (HIM)-"No I can't do it because I don't know what it is you want!!" (YOU)- looking him directly in the face calmly --"I;m sorry you didn't hear me before, what I had said is that I would like for you to pick up your toys and put them away(Use finger gestures if you think that it will help him to understand what it is you want) because we have people coming over. Did you understand what it is that I need you to do now?" This way he kind of feels like he's being involved in the converstation and at the same time is given the opportunity to let you know if he didn't understand your request you can repeat it and neither of you will be getting upset and it opens up the lines of communication in a sense that he can tell you that he didn't hear you or understand what it is you wanted without feeling like he's going to be yelled at for what he's being told to do and maybe he won't use his hearing problem as an excuse not to do things because you have given him the opportunity to tell you to repeat or explain more what it is you want him to do. I know that this is long-sorry but I hope that it helps. If you have any other questions please don't hesitate to ask. Good Luck =)

J. S

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