Why won’t he do as I say?

Having trouble getting your toddler to do as she is told? Try adapting your own behaviour.


If discipline is a problem with your toddler – maybe she won’t do as she is told or habitually breaks house rules – perhaps it is time to look at the way you behave rather than labelling your child naughty or disobedient.


Are you being assertive enough? Does your child recognise your ‘Do it now!’ voice? Family therapist and parenting author Steve Biddulph gives his tips on how to be firm:

Be sure in your own mind:

It is not a request, or open to debate, it’s a demand you have the right to make, and your child will benefit from learning to carry it out.

Make eye contact:

Go up close to your child and get him to look at you. Don’t give the instruction until he looks at you.


Be clear:

Say, ‘I want you to do X, Y and Z now. Do you understand?’ Make sure you get a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer. If he doesn’t obey, repeat the demand. Do not discuss, argue, reason, get angry or scared. Breathe slowly and deeply so you stay calm. The key is that he realises you’re willing to persist and not even get upset.

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