“My son doesn’t turn around when I call him” The reasons and advice

“My son doesn’t turn around when I call him” – this phrase, filled with worry and frustration, is one that I’ve heard many times before.

I’ve been there; the heart-pounding panic when your child seems to ignore you completely.

But why is this happening? And more importantly, what can you do about it?

Well, there are a number of reasons why your little one might not be responding as expected. And the good news is, there’s also a wealth of advice available to help address this issue.

In this article, I’m going to share some of the most common reasons why your child might not be turning around when called. And, I’ll provide practical advice to help you navigate this challenging phase.

1) It’s simply a phase of independence

In the universe of parenting, it’s essential to remember that children go through various developmental stages.

Your son not responding when you call his name? It can be a part of his journey towards independence.

The preschool years, especially, are a time when kids start asserting their autonomy. They test boundaries and want to explore the world on their own terms.

So, if your son seems to be ignoring you, it might not be a sign of disrespect or a hearing problem. Rather, it could be his way of showing his fledgling independence.

It’s challenging, I know – seeing your little one growing up and asserting themselves. But it’s also a necessary and healthy part of their development.

Don’t fret just yet. This phase, like all others, will pass. In the meantime, understanding its roots can help you deal with it in a more empathetic and effective way.

2) Selective attention might be at play

Have you heard about the concept of selective attention?

It’s a fundamental cognitive function that allows us to focus on a particular stimulus while ignoring others.

In other words, your son might be so engrossed in his play or whatever he is doing, that he simply doesn’t register you calling his name.

Children, especially young ones, have a knack for focusing intensely on their immediate activities. Their world revolves around what they’re doing at that moment. Everything else fades into the background – even mom or dad calling their name.

While it might seem like they’re ignoring you, in reality, it’s just their brain prioritizing what they’re currently engaged in.

The next time your son doesn’t respond right away, it could be that he’s just deep in thought or play.

3) Too much noise might cause tuning out

While selective attention can cause children to focus more on the task at hand, sometimes the opposite can also be true.

In an environment that’s too noisy or chaotic, your child might tune out the excess noise to cope. This includes their name being called!

Yes, it sounds counter-intuitive, but think about it.

Children are still learning to process and filter auditory information. When there’s too much happening around them – the TV is on, siblings are running around, toys are making noise – they may find it all a bit too overwhelming.

In response, your son may choose to tune out some of the noise to focus better. Unfortunately, this might also include your voice when you call him.

4) The tone of your voice matters

Have you ever considered how the tone of your voice might affect your child’s response?

Indeed, the way we speak to our children plays a significant role in how they react to us.

When we use a harsh or irritated tone, they may associate their name being called with negative experiences. As a result, they might be less likely to respond.

On the other hand, a gentle, loving tone can make them feel safe and loved, increasing the chances of them turning around when called.

This isn’t about blaming or shaming, but rather about reflecting on our own communication styles.

Kids are incredibly perceptive and pick up on more than we may realize. So, even if it’s been a long, tiring day or you’re feeling frustrated, try to keep your tone soft and loving when calling your child’s name. It could make all the difference.

5) Are we setting clear expectations?

Imagine this: You’re at a bustling playground. Children are running around, shrieking in delight. You call your son to leave, but he doesn’t respond.

You might wonder, ‘Why isn’t he listening to me?’ But have you ever stopped to consider whether your child knows what’s expected of him when you call his name?

Children are not mind readers. They might not understand that when we call their name, we expect them to stop what they’re doing and pay attention.

Ask yourself: Have I explained to my son what he should do when I call him? Does he know that I expect him to look at me or come towards me?

Setting clear expectations can go a long way in encouraging your child to respond when called. It’s a simple yet effective strategy often overlooked in the whirlwind of parenting.

6) Embrace the power of practice

As with many things in life, practice is key when it comes to teaching your child to respond when called.

I remember when my son was going through a phase of not responding to his name. I felt frustrated and worried. But then I decided to turn it into a game.

We would play ‘call and respond’. I would call his name and he would have to turn around or come towards me. We made it fun, with lots of laughter and high fives.

Over time, this practice helped him understand what was expected when his name was called. It also made him realise that responding could be a positive and enjoyable experience.

Reinforcement through practice can be a powerful tool in shaping your child’s behavior. And sometimes, all it takes is turning a challenge into a game.

What next?

Having explored various reasons why your son might not be turning around when called, and some advice on how to handle it, you may be asking… what now?

Here are some simple next steps:

  • Take some time to observe your child. Is there a pattern to when they don’t respond? Does it only happen in certain environments or at certain times?
  • Try out the strategies suggested in this article. Every child is different, so what works for one might not work for another.
  • If you’re still concerned, trust your instincts and consider seeking professional help.

Parenting is a beautiful, messy journey. It’s filled with joy, worry, laughter, tears, and a lot of learning along the way. And as we navigate this journey, let’s remember to be kind to ourselves and our little ones.

After all, they’re learning just as much as we are – if not more.

So take a moment. Reflect on your parenting journey and the incredible person your child is becoming. And know that whatever challenge you’re facing right now, you’re doing your best. And that’s enough.

Because in the grand scheme of things, isn’t that what truly matters?

Tina Fey

Tina Fey

Tina Fey is a nomadic writer with a background in psychology, specializing in child development. Born and raised in diverse cultural settings, she developed a deep understanding of human behavior and the intricacies of parenting. Driven by her passion for helping others, Tina now contributes to Careful Parents, offering practical advice and insights drawn from her expertise and experiences. Through her articles, she aims to empower parents with effective strategies for nurturing healthy relationships and fostering their children's growth.

Related articles

Most read articles

Scroll to Top