By Joey & Carla Link
January 15, 2020
During the holidays it’s normal for parents to let down their guard and for kids to take unearned freedoms, becoming less obedient each day. They are spoiled by grandparents and all the love they give them, then showered with presents. They stay up later than usual night after night and eat more sugar than they get in their normal diet. Before you know it they start toredefine what is right and wrong behavior. Parents usually are not aware of this in the midst of busyness and enjoying the holiday themselves until their kids’ behavior blows up in their faces.
The best way to bring kids back under control is similar to what many people do on New Year’s Day. They set goals for themselves and resolve to get back on track with the ones they have stopped working on. One of the best parenting goals is in Colossians 3:20, “Children obey your parents in everything for this pleases the Lord.” God didn’t suggest we do this; it is a direct command that children are not only to obey their parents but to obey them in everything they do!
How can parents do this? Pull your kids back into their funnel. What we mean by this is to remind them of their boundaries and watch for them to start staying within them again. Require them to say “Yes Mom” or “Yes Dad” every single time you call their name. If you have fallen into the habit of calling their name and giving an instruction without waiting for them to verbally respond and come to you first, please work on “call and wait”. Call their name and stop and wait for the child to say “Yes Mom, I’m coming!” When they get there, praise them for coming (if they did so with a good attitude) and give them your instruction.
Why is calling your child’s name and waiting for his/her response so important? I remember when Carla called our daughter Briana one day in a loud enough voice Carla knew Briana heard her. Briana didn’t respond, so Carla called her a second time much louder so the whole house could hear. Still Briana did not respond. Finally, in frustration, Carla went to the bottom of the stairs and called Briana’s name in a loud, very firm voce so she knew she could hear her. Briana came running saying, “Yes Mom, I didn’t hear you the first two times you called!” Make sure they can hear you when you call and unlike Carla, if they don’t come, don’t keep calling them. Go to them and deal with their lack of obedience. Just think how many times they overhear your conversations from the other room when you don’t want them to. They can hear you when you call their name.
I remember when our oldest son consistently didn’t respond when we called his name so we took him to the doctor for a hearing test. The doctor came back and said our son had “perfect selective hearing”! That was the end of that and we required him to come every time we called his name and if he didn’t he got a consequence.
Is this new information for you? If so, the Mom’s Notes presentation “Understanding First Time Obedience” (on MP3/CD and PDF/Notes) shares what this teaching looks like with different age kids. The first three chapters in our book, “Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave?”(which is also on audio MP3) talks about obedience training. Both are available at Parenting Made Practical.
What can parents do if their kids don’t come at the call of their name? Have a place for them to sit so they can think about why they didn’t obey you. When they are ready to apologize to you for not obeying you (ages 6 and up) they can do that and then you should give them a consequence. For little ones 5 years and under, have them sit and fold their hands (no talking) and when you can see they have calmed down ask them if they are ready to apologize.
Again, there is a lot more information on this in the Mom’s Notespresentation, “Understanding First-Time Obedience” and our book, Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave?
“Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right.”