In my last two posts, I discussed the importance of your children coming immediately and completely when you call their names. Now we’ll discuss the issue of attitude. In many ways, making sure your child’s heart is in the right place is much more important than the mechanics of them coming completely and immediately. We want them to submit to our authority without complaint and without challenge.
Challenging your authority
For effective first-time obedience, your child must respond to you without challenging your authority as a parent. There are some subtle and not-so-subtle ways that children challenge our authority:
- They say “yes, mommy” with a smart, sarcastic tone.
- They mimic you.
- They say anything but “yes, mommy” such as “what?”
- They say nothing.
- They say “yes, mommy” so quietly you can’t hear them.
- They say “yes, mommy” appropriately but don’t give you eye contact.
In all of these examples, the child is refusing to submit to your authority. Do not allow your child to respond in this way. Make him repeat with the appropriate response and if he still refuses, send him to his bed to sit in isolation.
There are some people in life who are more prone to complaining than others. I’ll admit that I’m one of them. But I’ll also admit that whining and complaining are done in habit. I’m starting to see it a bit more in my son. When I give an instruction or have to deny one of his many requests, I’ll often get a “but mom…” or “but why…” or “I was just…. If I don’t nip it in the bud, he’ll go on like that for several minutes.
Complaining doesn’t always mean they are challenging our authority, but it is definitely a habit we want to discourage. Even if the child doesn’t like what you have to say, they don’t have a choice in obeying. This is what first-time obedience is about. They must obey whether they want to or not.
So evaluate your child’s attitude when you strive for first-time obedience. Don’t forget that much of parenting is training our children’s hearts and that their outward attitude is the window to their hearts. If you do nothing else in your parenting, make sure your child has a submissive and obedient heart.