My wife's a stay at home mom since our kid was born. She also looks after the needs of 3 old people who we live with (there are 2 paid help), quite busy.

When I ask my 3-year-old kid to do something small like not play on his slider as I'm exercising the puppy, he won't listen. I tell him, you can continue in 10 minutes, let me walk the dog now. She's a 9-week-old puppy and can get hurt. He does agree that she's a baby, but I guess he thinks the slider is not a danger. So then I stop talking to him (after letting him know why), i. e. I ignore his requests to play, put on video etc. I work from home 10 days a month so we do a lot of things together - park, pool, lego-duplo even watching peppa pig, finley ... cartoons. Yesterday, I also kept the slider in another room so he could not use it anymore.

Is this a good way to tell a child you don't like his behavior? My wife has more patience.

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    Do you like it when people stop talking to you without giving you a reason? If you don't like his behavior but don't actually follow through with any type of correction how can you expect you kid to know not to do something? How does your wife handle correction? Saying nothing and/or not giving consequences for actions is pretty much a green light to continue. Unless you kid has psychic powers and can read your mind you are not doing him any favors. Commented May 3, 2015 at 17:24
  • No i do tell him. But ignore his requests to play, put on video etc Commented May 3, 2015 at 17:37
  • No you need to add a consequence other than just talking. Take away his toys and tell him no. He's 3 so it will take many many time but just saying "no don't do that" without consequences does nothing. It's best if you asked your wife what she does so you both stay consistent. If all she does is the same thing and you aren't getting any results you may wish to reconsider your choices. Commented May 4, 2015 at 2:51
  • again looks like i did not give enough info. i kept the slider in another room so he could not use it any more yesterday Commented May 4, 2015 at 5:09
  • Could you edit your question to include the new information? Also, how old is your child? Commented May 4, 2015 at 13:37

3 Answers 3


There are definitely times when ignoring a child's behavior is the better part of wisdom. This, however, isn't one of them.

Children - especially 3 year olds - are not mind readers. They are, however (like you) human, and want what they want. (You want him to stop. He wants to continue. That is the sum total of what he knows about the situation as it stands to an outsider.)

Communication is so important in life; it can be used to establish trust and respect. You can use such opportunities to model these things.

Explain why you don't want him to use the slider so he knows it's not just a command he can ignore. In explaining why, you can evaluate the merits of the request yourself. Ask him why he wants to use the slider. Then perhaps the two of you can negotiate (e.g. how about we come out after, and you can use the slider then? or whatever.) Negotiation is a great skill to learn, and a powerful tool.

You are indirectly asking, is ignoring a child an appropriate consequence for disobedience?

To me, the answer is no, because it sends (again, to me) the message that if you don't obey me, I will treat you like you do not matter to me.

It's really good that you do many enjoyable things with your child, and you deserve credit for that. Establishing consequences for disobedience takes a lot of work, but it's no less a part of parenting than the great things you do together.

Please read about consequences and how to set appropriate ones. There are a lot of similar questions on this site. And congratulations on caring enough to ask! That makes you a better parent right there. :-)

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    updated question but thank you. i do explain that its dangerous ... maybe i'm to impatient. learning to negotiate, keep calm and find alternates without shutting down will help, need to learn how. Commented May 3, 2015 at 17:59

Active ignoring is a great and useful tool in behavior modification. However, it must be used appropriately and the correct time. If he is acting up or having behaviors for attention then actively ignoring well curb the behavior.

However, if he is just doing it because he's a kid messing with things then it will not. Sounds like you need to block his access to the slider and redirect him to another activity.

Assign him a task like getting the leash or getting the treats ready for when the puppy comes back inside. If he doesn't respond take it away until he earns it back by listening and following directions.


I've seen ignoring be an extremely effective disciplinary tool for this age range. As long as you're not giving him the cold shoulder for a long time, and as long as your child understands what displeased you (which you said you did make clear).

This tool goes very well with another one, that we could call "catch him being good." When your son displays desirable behavior that pleases you, give him warm, positive feedback.

  • Usually for an hour or two. Today he stopped using his slider when I asked him too :) Commented May 4, 2015 at 4:18
  • Will get him a tow truck. He has been asking for Commented May 4, 2015 at 4:18
  • What's a slider? Could you post a picture? Commented May 4, 2015 at 4:40
  • shoppingsquare.com.au/… like a toy car but scary fast. we have a big hall and balcony he had mastered going quick. sometimes has hit his mom, me or one of the help. so was scared when i got the puppy. Commented May 4, 2015 at 5:10
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    Ah. Okay, I see. Well, I recommend you control when and where this vehicle may be used. I think a carefully thought-out plan for something inherently dangerous would be more effective than the ignoring technique, in this particular case. Perhaps this vehicle is more appropriate as an outdoor activity. Think of this as a first step towards preventing drinking and driving. Commented May 4, 2015 at 5:25

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