Obedience is an important skill to teach every child. Guest blogger Amy Stout is here with strategies parents can use to train their children to be obedient. Today, she talks about first steps parents need to take so kids will want to obey.
Obedience: The Formula for Fall Blessings, Pt. 1
Let’s face it. Not many people like the word “obey.” Anytime I use that word around Kylie’s therapists – Kylie, you need to obey Miss Therapist – they quickly change the wording to, “Yes, Kylie, please follow directions”
People don’t like the word obey because it implies submission and so many of us have a problem with authority. We want to be THE BOSS. I get it, I truly do. (I, also, have a slight issue with authority – we creative types always do.) Even though I don’t particularly LIKE the word “obey”, I still use it. I use it because Jesus used it and Jesus never did anything without a reason.
Obedience: Placing It Before Kids
My daughter at age 6 (and on the autism spectrum) knows the meaning and definition of the word “obey.” We have placed it before her since she was tiny. Did you notice what I just wrote? I used the phrasing “placed it before her” rather than “drilled it into her” for a reason.
You see, as a person who would rather be my own boss, I realize the importance of strategy and diplomacy. There is a way to get our children to obey without always placing a figurative yoke around their neck and dragging them to the task at hand. The thing is, kids are people pleasers. They WANT to make you happy, but they want to do it in their own time and in their own creative way. Sometimes, this poses a problem when REAL life enters the picture. Kids don’t understand that things in the adult world happen on a schedule. That some schedules are flexible and can change, but that other schedules absolutely cannot be changed.
Obedience Needs to Be a Habit
Charlotte Mason, a great educator from the past, once referred to the fact that obedience needs to be a HABIT and that out of everything you can teach a child, obedience is the “single greatest pattern to be formed.” (Taken from For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay.)
If for no other reason, our children need to know how to obey for safety reasons. Let’s say they are running toward a rolling ball that has left the playground and ventured into the parking lot. If we shout “stop!” and they don’t obey, their very life could depend on it.
Obedience Requires Respect
Many children and especially children who experience special needs have very valid reasons for not obeying. These reasons vary from they simply don’t respect the elder giving the directive to they didn’t hear the directive. If a child does not respect you enough to obey you, you might want to take a look at your personal character:
- Are you trustworthy? (Or do you make promises that you don’t keep?)
- Do you behave like an adult? (Or do you throw loud and uncontrolled temper tantrums?)
- Do you control your emotions? (Or do you use emotions in an attempt to manipulate your child?)
- Do you follow through? (When the sticker chart is full do you implement the reward? When the chore is completed, do you pay the allowance?)
- Do you practice what you preach? (Or do you violate your own directives?)
These are just a few of the things that may cause your child to disrespect you. If you are guilty in one or more area, apologize to yourself and then to your child and let them know you are going to be a better parent. THAT will be a great first step toward reconciliation and restoration of the relationship.
Obedience and You
Ouch! Amy’s challenge may require some soul searching. Guess what I’ll be doing until tomorrow when Amy is back with Part 2 of the series. Until then, feel free to share your thoughts about the series so far in the comment box. And visit Amy’s website, www.histreasuredprincess.com, to read about more of her ideas.