Saturday, December 6, 2008
The Order of Obedience
A parent’s predicament
“How do you make a child obey?” This is one of the most popular questions and in fact, challenges, that parents and educators face today. Every time I conduct a training seminar, I am asked: Don’t you just wish you could order obedience from a child in a snap? Ordering obedience is more difficult than childbirth because it takes many years to guide a child to obedience. We are not talking about several hours of labor pain here. We are talking about years of daily discipline, hair-whitening, wrinkle-forming and life-changing experiences of a parent to order obedience from his/her child.
Would you like to know a time-tested, tried and proven technique? Posing an invite to you like that may sound like an infomercial but I am not kidding. This one really works. It comes with a catch though. The first requirement is that the adult exacting obedience from the child has to be “right.” You got it. Yes, I said it right. You have to be “right” to make the child obey the right way.
If a parent thinks and acts right, then words that will come out of him/her will be right—uplifting and positive. This is the essential yet most difficult step of obedience. It begins with you, as a parent.
Steps to obedience
The next step is a series of listening skills exercises. Listening is a prerequisite to obedience. One cannot obey if one cannot listen. Do you know how these words are related to each other?
The word “obey” comes from the Latin word “oboedir” which means “pay attention to or give ear.” Literally, this means, “to listen to.” “Ob” means “to” and “oedir” or “audire” means “listen.” So the word “obey” actually requires an audience who listens. To listen is to “actively engage in paying attention to something.” It is synonymous to obeying.
The theme of my school is “Listen and Obey” which is actually based on the Bible. God promised success to the Israelites if they “listen and obey” (Deuteronomy 5 and 6). In reality, success in life comes to those who live this principle.
If you realize the significance of listening to yield obedience, you will be convinced that your voice has to be attractive in giving out commands. It’s not only the tone that matters but how a request is uttered. You, as a parent, need to learn some basics of marketing. If you want to entice your children to obey, speak to their heart and build them up. Make them want to follow you. This obedience training begins much earlier than the child’s birth into the world. A babe in the womb has to get used to your loving voice. Practice a consistent, loving tone until the child grows and matures.
Adults tend to think toddlers are difficult to train. The secret lies in speaking positive words, knowing the psychology of the child and applying brain-based learning. The first thing I do in training toddlers to follow me is understand and observe a toddler’s behavior. Once I am able to predict some of his behavior, I speak out what the tyke is about to do. For example, if he is about to walk, I will say, “Let’s walk.” If the child wants to do his toilet thing, I say, “Let’s go to the bathroom.” When the child is looking for his milk, before he cries, I would say, ”It’s time to drink your milk. Please wait.” As you say such statements which the child is actually about to do, cooperation happens and the child does what he is inclined to do. This is the very first step in “Listen and Obey” training. The child hears your voice and does what you say, even if he is about to do it anyway, without you saying it. You are the child’s ally, not his enemy. You are after his interest so he develops an interest in you.
Train the child to like your voice. Train the child to do what you say so he gets used to “following” you peacefully and joyfully without a power struggle. This is the first order of obedience.
By Marita Villafuerte of Baby Central