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Ensuring Obedience

How many times have you had to repeat instructions before you finally got your child to listen to you?

"Rahul, clean up your room!"
"Yes, mom!"
10 minutes later: "Rahul, clean up your room!"
"In a minute, mom!"
Half an hour later: "Rahul, have you cleaned up your room?"
"What's the hurry mom, I'll do it, na!"

Sounds familiar? How many times have you had to repeat instructions, threaten your child, enter into an argument and deal with a temper tantrum before you finally got him to do something?

Teach him is to come when called

There is really no excuse for laziness. Often when your child is sitting sprawled out in front of the telly and you call him, chances that he will come to you within a minute are slim. It's the same with adults. Some adults can jump up from a comfortable, curled up position without a second thought, while other adults find getting up to answer the doorbell excruciatingly painful. Nip laziness in the bud. Let your child know that being too lazy to get up when called is a habit best broken.

Make eye contact

When giving your child any instruction, don't shout it out from another room. Call him to you or walk up to him. Make sure he is listening to you and you have his full attention, and then clearly let him know what you want him to do. There should be eye contact. If you shout out something from another room, chances are your child will just ignore your instructions for as long as he thinks he can get away with it.

Give choices

Along with letting him know what you want him to do, you could also give him a choice between a couple of options. Ask if he wants to clean it up now when there is time before he leaves for tennis lessons, or when he returns at 5:00. Remind him that his favourite television show will be on at 5:30, and the job should be done before the show starts, or he will miss it.

Make him stick to commitments

Once you have extracted a commitment from your child as to when he will be cleaning up his room, make it a point that he sticks to his commitment. Don't let him get out of it by pleading or throwing a temper tantrum. Chances that he will throw a tantrum will in any case be lower as your child knows that the commitment has come from him and at the most he will try and plead his way out of it. Your child should know that once he has said he will do something at a certain time, he has to stick by his words. So if he pleads to let you clean up his room after the show, let him know that he should have thought it through before committing. If you are tempted to give in to his pleas, don't give in completely. Work out a compromise. He could clean up his room during commercial breaks, fold clothes when watching the show... But don't let him off just because of his pleas, because you will be setting a wrong precedent.

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