In my last post, I discussed the three fundamentals of first-time obedience training. They are immediately, completely and without challenge or complaint. The first, which I discussed before, is having your child respond to the call of his name immediately. Today, we’ll discuss the “completely” component of FTO training.
The requirements for you are the same as they are for getting immediate FTO:
In addition to making sure your child responds immediately, you must make sure he responds completely.
To come or not to come
In the Mom’s Notes, Carla Link says that your child should come to you when you call his name but that the need for it varies by age.
“For an older child, completely means that she responds “yes mom” with a cheerful spirit, and she promptly comes to find out why I called her in the first place. We strongly suggest that you do not accept anything less from your child!” (Understanding First-Time Obedience, Mom’s Notes).
If you have a preschooler or younger, your child is likely in the room with you at all times during waking hours (except for roomtime). If not, I recommend you stay near your child more often. If you are in the same room as your child when you call his name, then getting your “yes, mommy” and eye contact are probably enough. If you need to give a lengthy instruction, then ask your child to come to you.
If your child is older (6+) or for some other reason is in another room when you call, then you might want to get into the habit of having him come to you when you call. But note that I don’t recommend you call from another room when you first begin your FTO training. Be near him when you call so you can be absolutely sure that he hears you.
Whichever route you go, whether you require him to come to you or not, make sure your child understands your requirement. If you do require that he come to you, perhaps you have him put a hand on your knee to indicate that he is responding completely.
How “completely” plays out in everyday life
As I mentioned in my previous post, if you work on FTO training regularly, its benefits will extend into your everyday life. As with getting an immediate response in your first-time obedience training, you must make sure your child responds completely.
Here are a few examples of how a child might not be responding completely:
- You tell your child to put the book on the bookshelf, and he sets it on the table next to it.
- You tell your child to stop the nasty attitude, and he stops talking but makes sassy faces.
- You tell your child to stop running in the house, and he starts skipping instead.
Each of these examples is a subtle form of disobedience, but it is disobedience nonetheless. When you get incomplete obedience like this, there are usually heart issues that you need to address. You are missing that all-important attitude of submission.
How to discipline for incomplete obedience
If you are getting incomplete obedience such as in the examples above, I recommend you really focus on your FTO training. Spend a solid 4-5 days at home and make it your focus. Call your child’s name and require your “yes mommy” and eye contact 30 times a day. (No, I’m not exaggerating.)
If you are dealing with an attitude problem, do NOT accept it. Whether your child makes nasty faces at you or starts skipping instead of running, discipline him immediately. Even if your child puts the book next to the bookcase, he knows he is disobeying. In either example, I would have him sit on his bed until he shows a submissive heart. See my posts on Timeout Tips and Timeouts the Ezzo Way for more on this.
In my next post, I’ll discuss the final component of FTO which is responding without challenge or complaint.