We as mothers make our job so much harder when don’t realize that the way our children respond is due to how they are taught to respond…(clearing throat) by US! Being consistent with anything you want to train them is essential. So how are you talking to your children consistently? Do you use a soft voice laced with manners? Does your tone change when you are out in public and you know you are being heard? How are our children talking TO us and to others?
A pastor’s wife shared her story of how embarrassed she was to be caught yelling at her children in the middle of the living room when someone from their church dropped by for a visit. There she was, windows open, in full view of her unannounced visitors, screaming at her children. After that, she reassessed: if my children listen to me when I yell, I’ll train them to listen the first time, to my soft voice. That meant lots of disciplines when requests weren’t followed promptly, but it didn’t take long before the children caught on and were TRAINED to listen the first time to her “nice” voice. I realized when I acted out of frustration the third or fourth time I’d repeated myself by yelling or disciplining, I was unconsciously instructing my children to obey at that point, instead of the first time I asked. Now, there are consequences for not obeying the first time, and to be honest, I feel like a nicer Mommy because I’m not getting angry and yelling. I’m sure I sound nicer to those who listen to me, too! 😉
I also found myself saying something and often getting no response. Toddlers are GREAT at ignoring. It’s a testing time. I found making them respond to me by saying “Yes, Mommy!” (cheerfully) was making them pay attention, and proving to me that they DID hear me. We also think it’s a good way for children to learn respect. Some people insist their children respond with a “yes, ma’am” or “yes, sir”, but we have always been okay with just a “yes, Daddy,” or “I’d be happy to!”. I do like them to answer adults with their titles or names, such as “Yes, Teacher” or “Yes, Miss Laurie”.
We’ve also faced problems with jobs getting done halfway. First, be sure the thing you are asking your child to do, they are mature enough to handle! We also have a rule in our house “if you don’t know something-ASK!”. It’s simple enough but let’s them know its always alright for them to ask a question or ask for help. But after that, sometimes jobs get done halfway out of laziness or hurriedness. So listening is also doing the thing you were asked to do all the way!
One thing we try to reinforce in our home is working and obeying with a cheerful heart. The Bible says a joyful heart is like medicine. One of the scriptures our children know well is:
“Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars!” Philippians 2:14-15.
We encourage them that if they learn to cheerfully obey; they will shine like stars-at home, at work, at play!! We often may need to remind them: “Are you obeying quickly, cheerfully, and all the way?” It makes for a pleasant atmosphere in our home when there isn’t grumbling and complaining.
If we reinforce at home obeying in these ways, our children will learn to hear God’s quiet voice. Our children will have struggles their whole lives, but if they learn to obey God early on, they will lead a blessed life!