My Child with ADHD Won't Listen to Me

September 29, 2021 Sarah Sharp

When choosing a topic to write about for Life with Bob, I usually like to try to pick just the right one, maybe even do some research to see what my readers are asking about on Google. This week, though, I can only think about one thing: my child with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) won't listen to me.

To be honest, it feels like the bane of my existence right now. I tell my little boy to do or not do something, and he either does the exact opposite, starts arguing with me, or just completely ignores me. Or he'll start to follow through only to need redirection and reminders every three and a half minutes for the next half an hour. I've tried everything: being patient, being firm, giving him timeouts, taking things away, lecturing, and so on. Nothing seems to work, and now I'm mentally throwing my hands in the air and wondering, "Now what?"

The Relationship Between Defiance and a Child's ADHD Symptoms

Although defiance is not a symptom of ADHD, it can be a result of a child's ADHD symptoms.1 My child finds any kind of work boring, frustrating, and hard to stay focused on, so, naturally, he tries every method to avoid it. He isn't trying to be bad, so I don't necessarily want to punish him for something that's often out of his control. My fear, though, is that my grade school child will grow into a high schooler who doesn't listen to me, either.

I've gotten to a point where I feel desperate. I try to use my "calm voice" with my kid, but by the time I've asked him to do something fairly simple half a dozen times, my voice usually isn't so calm anymore. Lately, I feel like I've raised my voice on a daily basis, and I don't like the person it can turn me into. I've even had to apologize to my son. I feel like I'm punishing my child for having ADHD. For both our sakes, I have to figure this thing out.

I Need Help Getting My Child with ADHD to Listen

As I said, I've tried everything that I know how to do to get my child with ADHD to listen to me, and none of it is working. That's a major reason why I've sought treatment for his ADHD. I immediately let my child's psychologist know that he can be pretty defiant and that I don't always know how to handle it. In this situation, pride won't do anyone any favors. I don't always know what I'm doing here, but I'll bet a child psychologist does. Now it's just a matter of continuing treatment and staying humble enough to learn.

I Have to Be in the Right Place Mentally Before My Child with ADHD Will Listen to Me

I struggle with mental health issues myself and have since I was a little kid. When I'm not in a good place in my head, my child's ADHD symptoms are exacerbated, and so is his defiance. I have to make sure I'm taking care of my mental health, so I can be my son's guide and coach. That's part of the reason why I've started taking medicine again to alleviate some of my symptoms.

When I don't have my mental illness at least somewhat under control, I can't do what I need to do to get my child to follow my lead and my directions, and I don't handle his defiance well at all. I'm afraid that if I don't get more proactive about my mental health, it could actually damage my child and wreak havoc on his ADHD. He needs Mommy to take care of herself.

Do you have problems getting your child with ADHD to listen? What are you doing to try to solve the problem? Let's talk about it in the comments. 

If you're curious about a new idea I've been trying out to get my child with ADHD to listen to me more, check out my video:


  1. Miller, C., "ADHD and Behavior Problems." Child Mind Institute, Accessed September 29, 2021.

APA Reference
Sharp, S. (2021, September 29). My Child with ADHD Won't Listen to Me, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 from

Author: Sarah Sharp

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November, 30 2022 at 10:17 pm

Well THIS IS MY SON AND ME ALL THE WAY! It is getting to be so bad even at school. He gets to where he will not even follow along in school. It is also becoming a major disrespect thing on our household. I need any and all, advice I can get! Thanks in advance.

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