FTO Fundamentals: Immediately

In a recent post on first-time obedience (FTO) and self-control, I said I would write a post on the mechanics of FTO and how you can achieve it with your children. This is the first of three posts that should give you all the detail you need to start your FTO training.

Before we continue, let me refer you to my existing posts on first-time obedience. Go back and read those to lay the groundwork for your FTO training. Once you understand what first-time obedience is all about, then you can move on to training your child in it.

In her Mom’s Notes presentations, Carla Link goes into great detail on what exactly first-time obedience training means. Specifically, she defines FTO as having your children come to you at the call of their name immediately, completely and without challenge or complaint.

Today, we’ll discuss the immediate component of FTO training.

Counting to three

In the Mom’s Notes, Carla Link provides a little history on her parenting before she met the Ezzos. “In Growing Kids God’s Way, we learned that obedience needs to come ‘first time.’ Before we came across GKGW, we used to count to three to our children. If I called Michael’s name, wanting him to come to me, I would start counting 1-2-3. My thinking was that he needed time to choose to obey me. Taking time to choose to come at my call was not obedience. True submission (obedience) is coming at the moment of my call, whether he felt like it or not—whether he wanted to or not—whether it was convenient for him to or not.” (Mom’s Notes, Understanding First-Time Obedience)

Coming immediately

When you consider that your child needs to obey you the first time you call his name, you can see how coming immediately is a very important factor. Here’s what immediate FTO looks like:

  • You call your child’s name. (Just say his name. Don’t say, “Matthew, it’s time to pick up your toys.” Just say, “Matthew.”)
  • You wait a short amount of time for him to stop what he’s doing.
  • He says, “yes, mommy?” and comes to you.
  • He gives you eye contact when he comes and waits for your instruction.

That’s it! It’s so simple. When you think that first-time obedience can play out in our lives in so many ways, it can be overwhelming. But when you narrow it down to just him coming to you at the call of his name, it’s very simple.

Once you have achieved this immediate FTO (we’ll get into the other components in future posts), you’ll start to see this heart of submission carry over into other areas of your day.

Not coming immediately

While this training seems so simple, you must think through the scenarios where your child might challenge your authority and not obey you the first time. It can be subtle or overt, so let me give you some examples of what not coming immediately looks like. You call your child’s name and:

  • He says “yes?” when he clearly knows he is to say “yes, mommy” or “yes, mom.”
  • He says “hmm?” or “yeah?”
  • He says “yes, mommy” but doesn’t come to you.
  • He says “yes, mommy” and comes to you but doesn’t look you in the eye.
  • He comes to you and says nothing.
  • He says “yes, mommy” but keeps doing whatever he is doing.
  • He says “yes, mommy, but I need to finish this one last thing.”
  • He says “yes, mommy” and looks you in the eye but doesn’t come to you.

What this requires of you

To set yourself up for success in your FTO training, you need to expect a few things of yourself:

  • You train yourself not to tell your child what you need from him when you call his name. You say his name only and then wait for his response.
  • You don’t call his name casually without waiting for a response.
  • You don’t repeat his name when he doesn’t respond. First-time obedience is exactly that. It’s not second- or third-time obedience.
  • You make sure your child can hear you when you call his name.
  • You call his name and expect FTO whether you need something from him or have something to offer him. Don’t let him learn that every time you call his name, he’s going to have to stop playing and do some chore he doesn’t want to do. Call his name before going to the park or offering him a cookie.

Go back to the posts I mentioned above for more on this.

In my next posts, I’ll discuss the other two components of FTO training which are coming completely and without complaint.

Advertisements

10 Comments

Filed under first-time obedience

10 responses to “FTO Fundamentals: Immediately

  1. ys

    I actually ordered the FTO from Mom’s Notes and am listening to the CD’s. My question is the notes and CD talks about how they use chastisement for FTO violations (in fact Carla states this is the only thing she chastises for). But if you don’t chastise what do you do?
    According to my notes on the CD, you need to have them coming at the call of their name with a yes mom at 90% before you work on the rest (tone, whining,etc-ie the w/o complaint and completely). My question is how do you work on getting up to 90% without chastising? That is the method of correction they go over. What if you have a 3 YO who does it 50% of the time properly and 50% not properly? Do you just keep training over and over how to respond? I thought I read somewhere you didn’t chastise so I am curious as to how you handled this…..
    Thanks!

  2. Maureen

    Hi. I have spanked in the past, but honestly, it didn’t work for us. It’s just not worth it and there’s too much risk that you’ll do it in anger, IMO. (And I hate the euphemism “chastisement” they use. If they support spanking they should just call it spanking.) While I see the importance of being an authority over your children, I accomplish that through my tone, consistency and trust–rather than fear. And to spank a child for not coming when you call their name is just crazy. I have listened to the CDs many, many times, so I get where she’s coming from, but again, it’s just not necessary.

    So to get FTO without spanking, you have to get back to basics. With your younger child, start earlier. 🙂 Lucas is 2.5 and I can still put him in the playpen for timeouts, but because he has decent respect for my authority, he doesn’t try to climb out. And funny story, Lucas hurt William today and I wasn’t right there to deal with it. William (who was in a timeout himself) told Lucas to go sit on his chair and when I walked in they were both obediently sitting and waiting for me to come. William has a little “wise in his own eyes” thing going on but that’s a different story.

    Anyway, all hope is not lost on your daughter. I think you need to start over in a way. Go back to what you think she will do obediently. So she won’t stay in a playpen for timeout, but will she sit on a blanket for 5 minutes with some books? The idea is to get her to sit somewhere when you ask her to and for the length of time you say. Start really small. If she does 5 minutes (literally) no problem, then do 10 minutes the next day. If she can’t do 10 minutes, do 7 minutes. Once you have 7 minutes down for a few days, go to 10 minutes and so on. Increase it gradually. And then gradually move blanket time into a different room. She has to know that she has to sit even when you’re not there to make her. And I would also do playpen time. She might be a little big for a playpen, but maybe not. Give her some toys and make that a somewhat happy place so she’s not determined to climb out every time you put her there. Your big-picture goal is to have her sit obediently so you can ultimately have her sit on her bed without a struggle.

    Also work on calling her name, constantly. And be sure to call her name when you are offering something she wants. You don’t want her to think that every time you call her name you’re going to ask her to do something she doesn’t want to do. For that 50% where she doesn’t do it properly, yes, I would instruct her on what you expect. Go over to her, lift her chin, look her in the eye (with authority but try not to make it confrontational) and tell her that she is to say “yes, mommy” when you call. You might even bring her to where you were when you called if you want to reinforce the coming to you part. Now, if I don’t get my “yes, mommy” from William I send him to sit on his bed. It straightens him right up.

    Carla is right. Once you get that down and when she gives you eye contact, you won’t have much trouble beyond that. If you get your “yes, mommy” and eye contact and clearly tell her what you need from her, there’s no excuse for her not to obey. If she disobeys, then you do your timeout/isolation. And it circles back because if you have FTO, she will stay in her timeout. Make sense?

    Maureen

  3. ys

    Ok, thanks for your input. I couldn’t even understand what chastisement was when I first read it….I ordered a couple moms notes a while ago and it was only explained in a small subsection at the end of one in small print. So I totally agree they should call it what it is! I’m not the only one who didn’t know the term:)

    So to give background on my 2, I started BW from 4 weeks and did the whole system (not just the eat,sleep). Overall they are good kids and everyone compliments on their behaviour. So I’ve definitely been focusing on the entire BW principles. I have done roomtime and she stays in her room for that for about 45 min in the AM and some in the PM. We did playyard time and at about 18 months did once a day playyard and once roomtime. Now it’s pretty much roomtime and she does well with IP. She stays in her room until the timer goes off and cleans up her toys. We’ve done blankettime as well. It’s mainly since she realized she can climb out of playyard for timeouts and realizes she has some control in a way over things as is large enough to overcome physical constraints now……it’s basically just been lots of testing and I’ll say around age 3ish. I think it’s probably pretty normal for lots of testing at this age from what I hear. But I guess obviously something got missed along the way, huh? I think it’s partly a power issue but also I’m really pondering and think it is lack of self-control. She just gets so upset sometimes and loses control of herself. She knows she is in trouble for something. If she wasn’t in trouble she’d pretty much sit there obediently. So I think I may have to work on that more. As weird as it sounds she is pretty evennatured except some of these times where she “flips out” over isolation. Last week she kept coming out of playyard for timeout and I told her very matter of factly I’d put her back in there as long as I needed and as many times-this went on for about 15 min on and off…she was crying “mommy, mommy” as she was isolated and I just kept coming back as needed. She was totally worn out after that! I’ve been telling her to fold her hands for self-control and we’re working on that. I think I’ll revisit the blankettime with books and move the blanket around to different rooms. Great idea.
    The other thing I’m thinking about is BW is really big on couchtime. However we don’t officially do it on the couch. DH comes home usually right before dinner, we eat dinner as a family together and then he does baths with the kids right after and books. So we kind of treat the family table as couchtime. I thought I read that somewhere that couchtime didn’t have to be specifically on the couch. There is some time during the meal where they can’t interrupt us, so we are treating this as couchtime. So I thought this should be fine as it is hard to otherwise fit it into our busy evening before bed. Maybe we should do something more official, on the weekend or something.

  4. I find that I get a much greater compliance response when I seek eye contact BEFORE calling their name. This is how we do it at our house: http://www.cornerstonesforparents.com/blogs/how-to-get-your-kids-to-listen-the-first-time

    I find that it helps set them up to obey and increases compliance. If they then choose to NOT do what they were told, then there is a consequence (usually a time out). Once completed, I repeat the initial instruction.

  5. Maureen

    Laura,

    This is a great idea for those just starting out on their FTO training. I usually get my “yes mommy” without getting eye contact first, but it takes time to get there. And getting eye contact before giving any instruction is so important. So in our house it goes like this (in this order): 1) I call their name, 2) I get a “yes mommy” and eye contact, 3) I give my instruction.

  6. Pingback: FTO Fundamentals: Completely « Childwise Chat

  7. Elaine

    I have 100% FTO when it comes to calling my daughter’s name.

    It’s the part where I tell her something she doesn’t WANT to do that everything falls apart. For example, after a five minute warning that we’ll be leaving the McD’s Play Place today, I said, “It’s time to go, put on your shoes.” Her response? “I don’t want to put on my shoes. I don’t want to go.”

    She would.not.obey.my.words. She got several spanks when we got home because of that. I have consistanty disciplined for EVERY incident of defiance, disobedience, and bad attitude.

    But, I can guarantee you that the next time I tell her to do something she doesn’t want to do, it will be the same result as today.

    The spanking, the consistency, the clear layout of what is expected, the defined consequences if not followed have NEVER resulted in her having FTO if she just flat out doesn’t want to do it.

    Like I said, the above scenario happened today. Yes, I became angry. I’m SO very tired of still not having compliance no matter that I’ve done everything that I can to make it happen.

    She’s 9yo, by the way. I’ve been working on this since she was seven. Before that (unfortunately) tried to be a “gentle” mother which sowed the bad seed I’m now trying to desperately correct.

    But, TWO YEARS??? Neither way has worked for me.

    What else is there?

    On top of that, I have a 4mo that I’m hoping I’ll be able to provide a good foundation for. I just desperately need some success with my oldest or I may just mail her to you to fix!

  8. Maureen

    LOL. If only we could send our children away to be fixed. First, I commend you for finding a new way to parent after realizing your initial methods weren’t working. Some might say at 7, that it’s too late. But that’s so not true. Joey and Carla Link (of the Mom’s Notes) didn’t discover Ezzo parenting until their oldest was 6, and she gives a ton of examples of what a good kid/young adult he is. So don’t despair!

    I do fear that your original methods (and child-centered parenting, I assume) did foster a sense of “me-ism” and selfishness in your daughter. The fact that she doesn’t want to do anything she doesn’t want to do is a huge red flag. It’s great that you recognize this and try to fix it before her teachers start complaining.

    As for fixing the problem, make sure you have all the basics down. Are you scheduling her day and choosing activities for her? Are you keeping her in the funnel and requiring her to show responsibility before you allow freedoms? Do you require her to ask for permission? If not, start there. I have several posts on these topics, so try searching for them. I would back things way up and restrict her freedoms quite a bit. Tell her that when she shows responsibility to respond to your commands, then she can have X freedom back. I would also require her to ask for permission for EVERYTHING! Carla Link talks about how she would have her daughter ask for permission to get a drink of water when things were bad. I think she was around the same age as your daughter at the time.

    I would consider stopping spanking. She’s getting a little old for it and it sounds like it’s not working anyway. You don’t want her to resent you for it as she gets older. Logical consequences can work better in many ways. In the McD’s example, you could have walked out the door with her shoes in your hand, thus requiring her to walk (on the cold or hot) pavement in bare feet. Not going back for several weeks is another good option. After you got home, I would have isolated her by having her sit on her bed. If she won’t then you obviously can’t force her to. Think about things you can take away. TV time? Cancel a playdate with a friend? You ultimately need to figure out what her “currency” is. What is it that really hurts her? My oldest is a social butterfly and hates to be alone, so having him sit on his bed is really tough for him. Even today, I gave him a timeout at Starbucks, requiring him to sit by himself in the corner. He said, “But I don’t want to be alone.” We have spanked, but nothing works as well as timeouts for him.

    Finally, make sure you retain an air of authority over her. Try to keep your cool. I know, easier said than done. Don’t let her argue or negotiate. If she tries, walk away. Do couch time and make sure she knows she is not the center of the family. Oh, and don’t forget to make sure she feels loved. It’s often easy to forget, especially when we’re frustrated with them all the time, but if they don’t feel loved, they have no desire to please us.

    Stick with it and do some more reading and I’m sure you’ll find the answers.

  9. Elaine

    Thank you for your answers. I quoted you below and put my answers in all caps:

    Are you scheduling her day and choosing activities for her? YES. I HAVE BEEN CONSISTENT WITH THIS FOR ABOUT A YEAR NOW.

    Are you keeping her in the funnel and requiring her to show responsibility before you allow freedoms? YES AND NO. SOMETIMES THE FREEDOMS ARE PART OF OUR DAILY LIVES. FOR EXAMPLE, THE REASON I WAS AT McDONALDS WAS THAT I WAS TAKING CARE OF MY SISTER’S KIDS WHILE SHE WENT TO THE DOCTOR.

    Do you require her to ask for permission? YES, ALWAYS.

    Tell her that when she shows responsibility to respond to your commands, then she can have X freedom back. I IMMEDIATELY MADE THIS CHANGE WHEN I READ YOUR COMMENT LAST WEEK.

    I would also require her to ask for permission for EVERYTHING! I DO AND HAVE BEEN FOR SOME TIME. MY SISTER THINKS I’VE BEEN EXTREME IN THIS.

    I would consider stopping spanking. She’s getting a little old for it and it sounds like it’s not working anyway. You don’t want her to resent you for it as she gets older. Logical consequences can work better in many ways. AS OF YESTERDAY, I HAVE DECIDED IT’S TIME FOR ME TO MOVE TO A DIFFERENT METHOD. IT NEVER HAS GOTTEN THE RESULTS I WAS ASSURED IT WOULD, AND I AM CONCERNED THAT SHE TURNS THE SPANKING INTO THE ISSUE RATHER THAN HER DISOBEDIENCE.

    In the McD’s example, you could have walked out the door with her shoes in your hand, thus requiring her to walk (on the cold or hot) pavement in bare feet. LOL! I FORGOT TO SAY THAT I DID THIS. SHE COMPLAINED THAT HER SOCKS WOULD GET DIRTY! “TOO BAD” WAS MY ANSWER.

    Not going back for several weeks is another good option. I ORIGINALLY BANNED HER FROM McD’S FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE (HA!) BUT HAVE SINCE CHANGED IT TO A “FREEDOM” THAT WOULD BE RETURNED WHEN I SAW MORE MATURITY AND PROPER RESPONSE.

    After you got home, I would have isolated her by having her sit on her bed. I HAD HER SIT IN THE CORNER FOR QUITE SOME TIME, BUT SHE WAS NEAR ME. I HAD TO TAKE CARE OF THE BABY, SO IT WAS RATHER PEACEFUL!

    You ultimately need to figure out what her “currency” is. What is it that really hurts her? My oldest is a social butterfly and hates to be alone, so having him sit on his bed is really tough for him. Even today, I gave him a timeout at Starbucks, requiring him to sit by himself in the corner. He said, “But I don’t want to be alone.” We have spanked, but nothing works as well as timeouts for him. THIS IS INTERESTING. SHE, TOO, HATES TO BE ISOLATED. PERHAPS THAT IS HER CURRENCY?

    Finally, make sure you retain an air of authority over her. Try to keep your cool. I know, easier said than done. HERE’S WHERE I’VE FAILED MISERABLY FOR QUITE SOME TIME. I START TO GET WORRIED THAT SHE’LL NEVER CHANGE AND THAT I’D BETTER MAKE HER OBEY NO MATTER WHAT OR I’LL LOSE HER. THEN I STOP BEING QUIETLY CONSISTENT AND LOSE MY COOL.

    Don’t let her argue or negotiate. If she tries, walk away. Do couch time and make sure she knows she is not the center of the family. I WILL BE MORE ATTENTIVE ABOUT THIS. I DO TEND TO GET DRAWN IN BEFORE I REALIZE WHAT’S HAPPENING.

    Oh, and don’t forget to make sure she feels loved. It’s often easy to forget, especially when we’re frustrated with them all the time, but if they don’t feel loved, they have no desire to please us. BELIEVE IT OR NOT, THIS ISN’T A PROBLEM. IN FACT, IT’S POSSIBLE THAT SHE KNOWS SO WELL THAT I’LL LOVE HER NO MATTER WHAT THAT SHE SORT OF “TAKES ADVANTAGE” OF IT, IF THAT MAKES SENSE?? PLEASING ME ISN’T A HIGH PRIORITY FOR HER.

    Stick with it and do some more reading and I’m sure you’ll find the answers. THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO ADDRESS MY ISSUE. I’LL CONTINUE READING AND SEE HOW THE CHANGES I’VE MADE FROM YOUR SUGGESTIONS WORK OUT.

    Sorry for all the caps. I didn’t know how else to show my answers!

  10. ys

    Quick update: Really been working superhard on the FTO/retraining with 3.5 YO. Good progress! I have been listening and relistening to my Moms Notes CD that I got and it really has helped me implement it more successfully (plus your tips).
    Now my 23 month old is able to climb out of the playyard! She’s been trying hard for a while as she is a climber more by nature (as you see my oldest waited til over 3!) . That just started yesterday. I put her in timeout there and she climbed out and I put her back and she tried again and I told her sternly she needed to sit down and wait. She cried and fussed but I left her and she stayed in there. So I hope that she will not try this over and over. If she does, do I treat her any differently at this age? It worries me because she fell (and it’s on tile) the first time. Then I worry about the crib that she’ll try that one day! She is a tester and treats things as funny games. Eventually the goal of timeout is for them to sit in one spot without boundaries (ie playyard). We do blankettime and roomtime. The timer works wonders with her! She stays in her room until the timer goes off quite well (although on occassion she’ll start to open her door when the time is almost up to see where I’m at:) So I guess I could do the timer for her timeout (and she may not try to come out) but I thought time limits weren’t necessarily supposed to be set. Anyways, just wondering at almost 2 how to address this. I really don’t want to use the crib (and don’t want to plant the seed in to even try to get out if she is mad or something!) I am doing FTO with her and she is doing very well. She comes and pretty much even gives the “yes mom” a lot of the time. So I think the FTO definitely helped her stay put. So maybe I just need to keep on it and the phase will pass. I wasn’t sure if you ever had issues with your boys. I have heard a lot of boys are climbers:)
    Thanks again! It’s been really encouraging with both of them. They’re really doing great overall.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s