Note: This post was originally published here: http://thestay-at-home-momsurvivalguide.com/2015/09/teaching-children-to-obey.html
[biblegateway passage=” [biblegateway passage=”Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother” display=”Ephesians 6:1″];”]
I don’t know about your children, but my son hadn’t yet received the memo on that verse. Now that he’s almost six, he’s a bit tamer (tiny bit), but this day, when he was three, was a day for the record books.
I was awakened by a smell that pulled me out of bed. “What is that?” I asked the older three boys.
“I dunno,” they all replied.
I ran downstairs, envisioning the house on fire. The stove was on. At 550 degrees. I turned it off and ran back upstairs to ask the boys who had gone downstairs.
My youngest, Lil Tiger. Of course. So he was in trouble.
Later, while we were doing school, he and Snuggle Pup were in MunkeeBoy and Snuggle Pup’s room playing. Suddenly, Snuggle Pup yelled, “MAMA! Uh oh look what Lil Tiger did!” and brought a ceiling fan blade to me.
Lil Tiger had climbed on MunkeeBoy’s bunkbed, reached over and snapped off a fan blade! He was in trouble again.
Still doing school with the boys, kind of having issues with them staying on task, when Snuggle Pup came out again, “MAMA!!!”
“What did Lil Tiger do now?” I asked.
“You gotta come see, Mama.” Oh, did I? Couldn’t I send in someone else this time?
Ah, lovely. He had poured half the fish food into the new fish tank and dumped the rest all over his bed and the floor. He had to help vacuum it and was in trouble again.
A few minutes later, the boys told me he was using the floor fan as a trampoline. Of course it was broken. He was in trouble.
He came down with me when I was making lunch so I could keep an eye on him. Yep, that worked. One minute he was right behind me, the next I couldn’t find him.
Snuggle Pup came in. “Where’s Lil Tiger?” I asked. Snuggle Pup went away without answering. I stupidly assumed Lil Tiger had just gone upstairs, but Snuggle Pup found him for me elsewhere. “MAMA! Lil Tiger’s out front!!!!” Out front, where the street is a few feet from our driveway.
I’m thrilled to let you know that everyone survived that day.
Life isn’t perfect. It’s blessed, but it’s sure not easy.
You may have noticed that I got distracted and let him out of my sight, even if only for a minute. This just can’t be done with children like Lil Tiger. Once they have proven trustworthy, you can allow them more freedom, but obviously, Lil Tiger was not ready for freedom. (He’s still not, but let’s not digress.)
Little three year old boys need a lot of energy and attention, especially busy ones like mine. Here are a few random things I’ve since learned, to save you from pulling a few hairs out! (And for me to remind myself of.)
Set your alarm to get up before your child.
This will prepare your soul and mind for the day ahead. Say a prayer. Read the Bible. Maybe even go all out and get a shower – shaving not required.
Spend a few minutes in prayer with your little one before you start your day.
No, he probably won’t be very still and quiet, but eventually, he’ll appreciate that time. If he wants to say his own prayer with you, that’s something you will cherish.
Try to keep breakfast tv-free.
This is tough. Sometimes I want to plop a bowl of cereal on the table and go rest on the couch, or set up shop on the computer or phone. Sit down and eat breakfast with the kid. Look in his eyes. If he really needs distracted to stay sitting and you’re not hungry, read a book to him.
Let him help clean up breakfast, then go spend some time together playing for at least 15 minutes.
Doing what he wants to do. No electronics and especially no phones. Fill that love tank up to overflowing. Give him lots of hugs, back pats, head rubs, eye stares, and whatever else makes him feel loved.
Spend enough one-on-one time.
I have noticed that one of the biggest problems I have is when my kids don’t feel they get enough time with me. I know it gets harder when you have more children to divide time with, but I promise, it’s worth it.
In times that you feel stressed but safe to run away (like when his favorite show is on tv), take breaks in the bathroom.
Use the time to pray, sing a praise song, or just go to the bathroom for goodness’ sake.
Count to 10 to calm down.
Or you could count backwards to calm down. Patience is a key.
Don’t expect first-command obedience one day and the next day count to ten before discipline. Inconsistency breeds disobedience.
Love your child.
Discipline works best in a loving, caring, understanding environment. Always think about how we want God to treat us when we fail, whether by mistake or by a sinful choice.
Ephesians 2:5-6 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
Give us the strength to make it through another day with our busy and dangerous children. Help us to discipline in love and mercy, as You our Heavenly Father do with us. Give us Your patience and understanding when life is crazy and our kids are crazier. Remind us every moment how blessed we are to have been given these priceless children. Thank You for being the perfect example of a parent for us to emulate. We love You, Father.
In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.