In response to a comment that was left on my blog post 10 Tips For First Time Obedience, I would like to say that OBEY is not a four letter word!
Apparently one person who came across my post thinks teaching kids to obey is a bad thing. Read the comment that was left:
I just googled first time obedience as it was something sprouted by a friend of mine and I wanted to understand what she meant. I could not be more shocked by what this page has had to say. Are you raising children who are encouraged to think for themselves? Entrepreneurs? Children who will grow as adults who think for themselves? From the little I have read, I think not. I feel so very sorry for you and your family. Good luck raising free thinkers who are truly happy. First time obedience is certainly not something I would encourage as both an educator and parent.
I would like to point out a few things in response to this comment.
The reasons that we taught our children to obey
1. Obedience is GOD’S plan.
The Bible clearly tells children that it is RIGHT to obey their parents, and that by honoring their parents they will be blessed. They will not only have a long life, but things will also go well for them — God will bless them for their obedience.
I don’t know about you, but I want God’s blessing on the lives of my kids! I have also seen His blessing on their lives in many ways as they have become young adults who understand the importance of obedience.
2. We wanted them to learn to obey the first time, so when God spoke to them they would obey Him without question.
If God were to speak to my child’s heart about inviting a friend to church, we didn’t want them to argue or question but rather say “Yes, Lord.”
That will never happen if our kids haven’t learned to obey us, their parents.
3. Safety reasons.
There was a time when my oldest son was about three years old, and quick obedience protected him from danger. He was walking on the sidewalk to go up to our porch, when my husband turned and saw a guy riding his motorcycle down the sidewalk, and coming right towards my son.
My husband called his name, and because we had taught him to obey and come when we called him, he immediately turned and came to my husband, and thus getting out of the path of danger.
There are many common instances where it makes sense to teach obedience to keep your kids safe –whether it’s not touching a hot stove, or stopping when we tell them to as they are about to run into the street when a car is coming.
Requiring obedience and having boundaries or rules gives our children security, and they are ultimately happier.
No matter what ages our kids are, they need to be obedient. However, it will look different in different ages/stages.
When our kids are toddlers and preschoolers, they don’t have the maturity to make wise decisions, so that is the time where we have a lot more rules and boundaries. In fact, we pretty much are in control — we choose what they can eat, where they can go, what they can watch, when they go to bed, etc.
The process should be that we move our kids from that stage (parent control) to the self-control stage, at which point they can make more choices. If they choose not to obey, they learn from natural consequences.
At that age we should do a lot more explaining of the reasons behind our requests or the rules we have in our home. Understanding the why makes it easier for kids to obey, and have the self-control to do what is right.
The goal is for them to then move forward to God-control, where they obey and make wise choices because they have given God control in their lives.
As they leave the parent control stage, we can teach them to make respectful appeals.
The thing to remember is that we shouldn’t ever take advantage of our authority, but always show love when we require obedience.
Our kids needs to know we love them and want what is best for them. We want them to obey, so God can bless and protect them.
3 REASONS OBEDIENCE CAN CAUSE UNHAPPINESS
1. Lack of a good relationship between the parent and child
Often we strive for compliance and forget the relationship that will bring that compliance. Relationship is KEY.
When we have a good relationship with our children and we have their hearts, they want to please us. They know we have their best interest in mind, and even though they may not like some of the rules, they will be more likely to obey because of that relationship.
On the other hand, when there is no relationship, they resent the rules and have not desire to please you or obey the rules. As the saying goes, rules without relationship breed rebellion.
Requiring obedience to the rules or boundaries is not the problem. The relationship – or lack of relationship – is the real problem.
Obedience is hard when parents unreasonably force rules when there is a broken or neglectful relationship.
2. Lack of consistency
Often our kids don’t obey us because we’ve trained them not to by our inconsistency. We repeat our commands three or four times, then get mad and yell, which gets them to THEN do what you’ve asked.
This isn’t fair to our kids! It teaches them to take chances, wondering if you really mean it this time.
Don’t threaten your kids and not follow through. If you say it, mean it.
Often our lack of consistency leads us to harsh, angry parenting because we have trained our kids not to listen until we yell or get angry.
You and your kids will be happier if they know you are going to be consistent, and that you mean what you say and will follow up with consequences if they don’t obey.
3. Lack of training
Often we make the mistake of expecting our kids to obey when we haven’t ever taken the time to teach and train them, making our expectations clear.
It is important when giving them instructions or commands to require a response. We taught our kids to reply with “Yes ma’m or Yes Sir.” Others use “Yes Mom.”
It really doesn’t matter which you use. What is important is that you get a respectful response from them, showing they heard you and are having a good attitude about doing what they have been asked to do.
This takes training and practice!
We started by teaching our kids to come when we called them. We’d have them go across the room and tell them “When we call you, you say “Yes Ma’m or Yes Sir” and come running. Then we’d call them, and when they answered and came running we would praise them.
We made a game out of it to make it fun, while also practicing with them so they knew what was expected.
When they responded wrong, like with a “Why?'” or “I don’t want to” or no response, we would say, “Let’s try that again.” This is for the younger kids, and the more you practice and train them at that age, the easier the other years will be. Of course, sometimes the older kids might get slack about answering, and we would have to remind them.
The truth is that you can have a lot more fun as a family, and everyone will be happier doing things together when the kids have learned to obey.
Who wants to go out to eat with kids who won’t listen, and won’t stay in their seats to eat? Or what fun is it to take them shopping if they won’t listen and are running off the whole time?
Obedience makes for happier families!
And for the record, my kids are all adults now, and they DO know how to think for themselves. They have learned well how to process information, make decisions, and form opinions. Guess what? They are also happy!
OBEY is not a four letter word. God’s way is the best way, and obedience to God brings His blessing and protection. So teach your children to obey!
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