One Awesome Way to Get Your Kids to Obey Now
The Power of Choice Can Transform Your Parenting
“Pick up your toys!” Take your bath now!” “Turn off the TV immediately!” “You’d better obey now!” “Because I said so, that’s why!” “One... Two... Three... Now you’re in big trouble!”
Does any of this sound familiar? As parents, we all struggle at one time or another with obedience, or rather, lack of obedience. My husband used to call it “First time Obeyance.” No, that’s not a word; it was just his word to either preface or follow orders barked to the kids. And some of the time, it worked. More often than not, though, it didn’t.
It’s so easy to get sucked into power struggles with our kids. We told them to do something; and they don’t want to. OR... they don’t want to BECAUSE we told them to. I remember clearly from a children’s book I read to my kids, Mrs. Pigglewiggle: “I’ll do it because I want to but not because you told me to.”
Let’s face it; none of us likes to be told what to do. We just don’t. And none of us likes it when we know what needs to be done; we’re about to do it, and then a husband, boss, or parent “helps” by reminding us to do that very thing that we were just about to do. “Hello, Captain Obvious, I was just ready to do that. Thanks for taking the wind out of my sails!” You know this feeling, right? We want the power to be the boss of ourselves.
Now imagine that you are a child (or imagine when you were a child), and you’re growing in your autonomy and learning to, bit by bit, branch out on your own and make decisions for yourself. You are exercising your free will, your power. It’s something we were all born with, and it’s something that we practice every day, learning and growing from the consequences of our actions. Gaining in confidence and self-empowerment every day when we choose between options.
Ultimately we hope that we and our children will always choose right over wrong, good over bad; kind over mean, healthy foods over junk food, and so on….but if we never allow them to make simple decisions, simple choices, we deny them the learning experience and empowerment that decision making brings.
I remember always butting heads with my mom when I was little. Yes, I was very strong willed, but I also was rarely afforded the chance to make choices. I was commanded to do something, and I was expected to obey. Immediately. No questions asked. No free will allowed. Disobey and suffer the consequences. And my back side took a lot of consequences. It was a battle of wills.
This battle of wills doesn’t need to happen though. Did you know that with just one simple concept, you can avoid this inevitable power struggle and have almost effortless obedience?
Yep. You can avoid or diffuse power struggles and gain “obedience” with little or no hassle. How, you ask?
The power of choice totally diffuses and avoids nearly all power struggles between us and our kids. In nearly every situation, from bedtime to mealtime, we can honor our children’s free will and desire for power/autonomy by offering them choices. And empowering them to decide which they want.
Would you like to take a bath now and then watch TV for 15 minutes or finish your show and then take a bath and go straight to bed.
Would you like carrots or apples with your dinner?
Do you want to do your homework now so you can play or come in early and do it then?
When we allow our children to choose from TWO acceptable options, we give them the chance to exercise their free will and power and to learn from the consequences of their actions. Choose option A and then deal with it; you can’t have option B later. Pick one and live with it.
Some may argue that this is tricky and that we are manipulating them into obeying by giving them two different options acceptable to us. That may be true to an extent, but we are also teaching them to make choices on their own and that each choice comes with a different set of consequences.
By allowing them to make simple choices when they are younger, rather than maintaining total control and strict “first time obeyance”, we are preparing them to make bigger choices with more important consequences later in life.
Hi, I'm Beth. I help busy moms ditch the overwhelm and gain confidence, so they can enjoy parenting more, yell less, and have peaceful kids and a happy family.