A family lived in the midwest and had cornfields around their house. One day as the father was standing on the porch he saw his young son running through the cornfield towards the road. From his vantage point he saw a car approaching and realised that his son was going to run out in front of that car if he kept up his current pace. The dad yelled “Joshua, stop!” and the boy immediately stopped running and turned around to face his dad’s direction. The car passed. That, my friends, is first time obedience.
Discipline. Consistency. Strategy. That is the name of the parenting game. You may think you can “wing it” but rest assured you will get haphazard results. While parenting isn’t a game, there are strategies, practices and “plays” that push your children towards success. That’s where Weigh Test + Measure comes in. Can a team win if they haven’t practiced together? Probably not. I believe parenting is like team work. The team is the family and the practices, drills and strategies are how you and your children work together to get a winning result.
What is a winning result? In my opinion, parenting has been a success when a child matures into a responsible, thoughtful, self-controlled adult who is able to meet the challenges of this world with confident decision-making skills and the ability to get back up when they have fallen down. That type of person is moulded and shaped by their parents and it won’t happen without concerted effort.
Athletes don’t train only when they feel like it. Can a coach who doesn’t hold practices, study the game or call any plays expect high performance from their team? Of course not. Parenting is similar. Parents should be consistent, develop strategies, have predetermined responses (plays and plans of action) and create an environment where children know what to expect. When children know what to expect and what consequences will occur if they don’t, they will rise to meet those expectations.
Discipline in parenting doesn’t come naturally, and by discipling I mean training. Consistency can be super annoying and it takes real effort to back up your word the 440th time that day your child is climbing up the bookcase. We train them with our actions primarily and our words last. Be assured of this, if you train your child to try ignore you 45 times because the 46th time you will give in, they will operate that way. They don’t have a timeline and will settle in for the long haul if it gets them what their little flesh wants. They won’t be thinking “ha, I’ll show mom…” but they will think “okay, this is how we work, if I do this 46 times I will get to do what I want.”
Training takes discipline and strategy. If your strategy is a no, then a no with a hand squeeze, followed by time out then that is what should happen every time your child is disobeying. 1,2,3. Don’t say no if you won’t enforce it because it just communicates that you don’t mean what you say. You will be busy chasing after your other children or cooking dinner, but when a behaviour occurs that needs to be disciplined you must follow your discipline strategy. When your child knows you mean business they do eventually fall in line.
My daughter took a few months to get used to obeying, but understood and obeyed a verbal “no” by 10 months. 100% of the time? Keep dreaming. A solid 80% of the time? Yes. And that is good coming from a baby. We have childproofed dangerous areas in the house but have trained her to avoid certain drawers, TVs, and other objects by training her to obey no. Now she will look at the basket with the remote controls (which we don’t allow her to play with) and she will shake her head no and keep walking. She has learned self-control and can respond to verbal commands because she knows, no matter how inconvenient, that I will follow through.
Although I am a supermom, I am nowhere near perfect. Parenting ain’t easy but my goals are big. Big…but not lofty.
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