If you are my 3 year old, Mini, you do not. I swear she blocks me out better than anyone I have ever met. I will ask her to do something when she is stand just a foot or so away and all I will get is a blank stare (if I get that!) I repeat myself over and over and over again and it gets me absolutely nowhere. I cannot begin to tell you how absolutely frustrating it can be. Not to mention when I tell her to do something and she actually responds to me and then she STILL doesn't do it!
I know I am not the only mom in my crowd who is having this issue. We have pretty much decided that the 3's are way worse then the 2's (and rumor has it that the 4's aren't any better!)
This article, from Scholastic's Parent & Child magazine, helped me to understand what was going through her head. I know that I am guilty of not following through. As in- "It's time to go...after Mommy pins this one last thing on Pinterest." (Beware of clicking that link! It will suck you in!) Or- "I am counting to 5...and going to catch your little brother before he destroys something." I know that Mini believes that we know what she is thinking or what she has done every minute of every day. When asked what she did today or what she is drawing she constantly responds with "you know, you tell me." Now I feels safe in the knowledge that this is normal. How do I deal with this? I plan to make sure she knows that I am talking to her; I have a feeling that a big part of our communication issues come from the fact she doesn't realize that we are talking to her. I also hope to remember to break down tasks into small, short instructions so that she can remember and follow them easily. I want to have her understand that I am in charge but that I respect her as a little one. Plus, I will make sure that I am better at following through so that "give me just one sec..." doesn't end up meaning "it'll be awhile."
I vow, as a parent, to do my part to make sure my child grows up to be someone who knows how to listen. If only I could guarantee that she'll WANT to listen. ;-)