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Sowing Seeds of Obedience

Certain instructions encourage obedience, while others do just the opposite. Here's how to ensure you raise an obedient, well-behaved child.


Give clear instructions

One of the most common mistakes parents often make is to give their children instructions that are not very clear or succinct. So when the child fails to follow the instructions, the parents resort to punitive or other disciplinary methods.

When parents give their children instructions, they should make sure that they are very clear with what exactly they want their child to do. If they are vague, then their children too may not pay much attention to the instructions. In this manner parents themselves are sowing the seeds for further disobedience. Telling your child that he must go to bed after dinner every night is vague. In addition, your child may be tempted to eat later or slowly in order to stay up later. Giving your child a certain time for bed is more specific.


Give instructions that are less likely to be disobeyed

If you want your child to finish off his homework by a certain time, let your child know by exactly what time he should start it. If you say you want it done by 7:30, chances are he may start his homework by 7:25 and it will not be done by the deadline specified. You have just sowed the first seeds of disobedience in your child. Instead, if you tell your child that he should start his homework at 6:30 without specifying the time he should complete it, there is less scope for disobedience.


Give choices

Give your child a choice at every step. So taking the above example, your child may want to watch his favourite show at 6:30 that day. Ask him if he wants to do his homework now and then watch his favourite show on television later, or if he wants to play now and skip the show. You need to be in tune with what your child likes to do at what time, so you can help him plan his schedule. He may not realize that the show is coming on today, and if you don't remind him, the temptation to disobey will be very strong when he realizes that his show is going on, and he may beg and then fight with you if you don't let him do his homework 'just a little later' after the show. On the other hand, if you give in, he may stop taking your deadlines seriously. Hey, parenting isn't easy! But a little bit of beforehand research will save a lot of future heartache and headache.


Go step-by-step

When giving your child instructions, pay attention to what you hope to achieve, and what will cause him to achieve this. For example, your child is late to school everyday and you want him to reach school on time. You have tried waking him up every morning, but your commands fall on deaf ears. Now you decide to try the rewards strategy. Should you tell him that if he reaches school on time everyday for 10 consecutive days, you will buy him the toy he wants? No! A better strategy would be to tell him that if he wakes up at a certain time every morning for 10 consecutive days, you will buy him the toy he wants.


Use gimmicks

Get him a calendar so he can mark the days he wakes up on time. This way he can see for himself how many days are left! These few gimmicks will make your child take your challenges more seriously.


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