When you tell your child to do something or tell them to stop doing something, do you really want them to obey? Are you sure? Then why do you tell your child over and over and over? If they obey but only after you tell them repeatedly, is that truly obeying? If you count to three, then you are actually conditioning them to think you aren’t serious…until you count to three. Why is it okay for them to not obey the first time but it isn’t okay once you count it out? If you expect your child to obey once you get to the magic number three (or five or ten) then truthfully you should just expect them to obey the first time you tell them or call their name.
In our family, the parents are the parents and the children are the children. That may sound sarcastic but think about how many families truly don’t use that standard. Some parents beg, some bribe and some parents want to pull their own hair out. We enjoy our kids. That isn’t to say that I never have days when I just want a break, because I do. I’m human and so are my kids and neither of us are perfect – far from it. I’m just saying that some parents don’t enjoy their kids because their kids are terrors. Guess what? The parents condition the children and as I’ve said before, your children are a reflection of you.
Here is a scenario: my son is playing the Wii but it is time to come to the table or maybe get a bath or even get ready to go somewhere. I call his name but he a) ignores me b) starts complaining c) tries to beg for more time or d) he turns it off because that is what I told him to do, right away. The answer is d, every time. He may not like it and he probably doesn’t prefer it but he does it anyway. I don’t stand over my kids and bully them or threaten them – that is not appropriate. My kids are expected to obey. I may have to remind them, some days more times than others but they still know they are expected to obey. Many times our conversations go something like this: Me: did you hear mommy call you? Child: yes ma’am. Me: why didn’t you obey? Child: I don’t know. Me: you need to obey…. Child: right away. Me: sometimes? Child: all the time, the first time.
I understand that children like to and need to have playtime. I know that it is difficult for children to stop playing just because mommy says to. Long ago, I started giving my kids a “time warning”. This is not the same thing as “counting to 3”. When we are at the park or it will soon be time to clean up the toys to get ready for the next thing, I will give my kids a time warning such as, “five more minutes and then it will be time to go or clean up”. This helps avoid any would-be opportunities for a meltdown. Young children may not really have an understanding of time but it still gives them a warning so that they can be aware that soon playtime is over. It gives them a chance to prepare for it, since cold turkey pulling them away from playing any type of fun time is always a disappointment. In the instance that I need to leave immediately for some reason, I may say “one more time down the slide” instead of a length of time.
If you give your child instructions, mean it. Have clear consequences for disobedience. If you allow your child to disobey, it is just as bad as offering to help a friend but it really being an empty gesture. Don’t be a joke to your kids. Believe me, they know if you are serious or not.
My name is Jamie. I am married to my best friend, who also happens to be an active duty Marine. I am a stay-at-home mom of three kids: Abigail is 7, Peyton is 5 and Preston is almost 9 months old. I am not a perfect mom, nor do I have perfect children but I work hard at giving them life tools to make the right choices. With God’s help, they will grow to be what today’s society considers “good kids”. It is not my goal to have good kids according to the standards of the general public but according to the standards that we have chosen to follow as a family and what we feel pleases God.