Why Does My Son Only Listen To His Father?

Your son may only listen to his father rather than you as his mother for a number of reasons. It may be that you have a gentle approach to reprimanding your son, it may also be that your son fears his father, or it may be that his father has acted on his words in a more effective manner than you, which causes your son to take his father more seriously.

As a mother, you naturally want your child to listen to you. When you find that your son only listens to his father and not you, it has the ability to make parenting extremely challenging.

It can be frustrating if you feel your son only listens to his father. Understanding what causes your son to listen to his father rather than you can go a long way in ensuring your son listens to both of you.

Young boy ignoring his mother who he is turned away from and only listens to his father

Potential reasons why your son only listens to his father

Here are five potential reasons why your son only listens to his father and not you, his mother.

1. You don’t follow through

When it comes to parenting as a mother, consistency is key. Children have a great way of easily noticing when you don’t follow through on punishments and start to take what you say with a pinch of salt.

If you find that your son’s father often follows through on his threats, it is likely that your son has noted this and takes him more seriously. It may be that your son listens to his father instead of you because he has learned that when his father talks and he does not listen, his actions will have negative consequences.

To remedy this, make a concerted effort to follow through on any punishments that you warned will arise as consequences of his actions. Soon, your son will realize that there has been a shift in how you approach punishment and learn to take you seriously when you warn him against the potential consequences of his actions.

2. Inconsistent disciplining

If you find yourself sometimes telling your son things like “I’m going to tell your father” or “Just wait till your father deals with you,” you are not setting the tone to indicate that you have authority on an equal footing to his father.

If you find yourself shifting the disciplinary role to your son’s father in times of conflict, your son may associate his father as the disciplinarian, which leads to him only listening to his father and not you.

It is important that you assert your role as an equal disciplinarian to his father. In times of conflict, if you would previously let his father discipline him alone, instead, discipline him together so that he begins to see the two of you on equal footing.

To ensure that these measures are successful, ask his father to include you in any conversations where your son will need to be disciplined. Doing this will provide a united front so that your son will start to associate both of you as disciplinarians to who he should listen to.

3. You cave in

Being a mother, although extremely rewarding, can also be extremely exhausting. If you find that sometimes your “no” turns to a “yes” after your son negotiates with you, it may be sending the message that you can be bargained with.

While a little bit of negotiating between parent and child is normal, it is important that you are firm when you discipline your son, clearly indicating that what you have said is not up for negotiation. If you open the floor for negotiation during discipline, you are, in essence, splitting your disciplinary role with your son by allowing him to negotiate the terms of his punishment.

In instances of conflict, it is best that you are firm and stand strong when you say “no.” Doing this will send the message that your words have meaning, which will cause your son to listen to you in the future.

4. A boys club has developed, and you’re not invited

Sometimes being the “bad cop” in the parenting relationship can cause you as the mother to become seen as the person who ruins the fun and makes your son’s father seem like your son’s best friend.

This may have built up over years of your son’s father giving him his way when you wouldn’t let him. Unfortunately, this may have led to the forming of a “boys club” between your son and his father, where you look like the big bad wolf every time you try to discipline your son.

Remind your son’s father that parenting is a partnership that requires you and your son’s father to provide a united front. If you feel that your son’s father could be more supportive in you disciplining your son, consider asking him to stand by you in executing the discipline you set out for your son.

5. Your son’s father disrespects you in front of your son

Fathers are role models for their sons. The way your son see’s his father treat you sets the tone for how he believes he should treat you. If your son sees his father undermining you in front of him, he will start to get the impression that he too should undermine your authority.

The best way to go about solving this is by addressing it with your son’s father. Remind him that as parents, you are a team who are working with the goal of raising a well-behaved, well-rounded son. Ask him to emphasize respecting you in front of your son.

In the event that you and your son’s father have disagreements, try to resolve them privately so that your son does not witness either of you treating one another with disrespect.


Raising an obedient, respectful son is every mother’s desire. You can work on having your son listen to you by ensuring that you remain consistent when you discipline your son, staying strong when you say no to him, and not shifting the disciplinary responsibilities to his father.

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