Do you ever get the feeling you sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? All your children hear is, “Wa-wa, wa-wa-wa-wa-wa.” Over the years I’ve discovered this to be true in my own home. When this happens, I know three things have occurred.
In order for my children to obey, fulfilling the responsibilities given to them, I must first ensure they have heard my command. It helps to have my children not only look at me when giving them instructions, but for them to confirm they have heard the request. A simple “Yes, mom” will usually suffice. This ensures they have heard the command and have no one but themselves to blame when consequences arise from lack of obedience. In my instructions I am very clear to state what I expect of them, how much time they have to accomplish said task, and the consequences for their lack of obedience.
The second key is putting in place solid consequences for lack of obedience. When our children understand we are serious about them obeying, they will be more likely to listen and act. I discuss appropriate measures with my husband, and determine which consequences we are willing to put into place. Then, start using them.
Lastly, be consistent. Our children will not take us seriously if we do not follow through on our word. If we say they will not get dessert if they don’t clean their room, they need to not get dessert. It doesn’t matter if they whine, moan, or pout. Giving in, especially to whining, only ensures our children will not obey us in the future. Instead, they’ve learned they can get away with lack of obedience by worming their way out by nagging us. Once a consequence has been chosen, we stick with it. Every time. All the time.
It may take the children a few tries before they finally catch on to the new routine, but the sooner we start the better. When we are clear about what we expect, when disobedience is followed up by consequences, and we are consistent in our word, our children will have greater respect for our authority.
Bye-bye Charlie Brown’s teacher!
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
~ Matthew 11:15
Your Turn!: How often do your children claim not to hear when you speak?