Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Teaching obedience

We've really been struggling this week with obedience. Granted, I'm pretty sure some of it is leftover from a disrupted sleep schedule and lack of sleep this past weekend. That said, we're having a really hard time with obedience at school. How do you teach your children to obey other people? Even if you homeschool, there are times when your children are with other parents or adults (family, babysitters, etc.)--how do they learn to obey in those situations? One of the issues we're having is that the boys are learning to be little boys, which is great!! But they are having a hard time understanding when it is okay to behave like all of the other kids and when it's not. ;) So I'm curious to hear from others--what are your thoughts on teaching your children to obey others?

All of that said, what we are dealing with is "not listening". :) :) :) No biting, no kicking, no hitting, no aggression of any kind to children or adults. So believe me when I say I AM NOT COMPLAINING!! LOL In reality, I think we're going through a couple of stages that most people go through with kids around age 3 or so. Our boys have never gone through some of the normal social developmental stages, so this is going to be happening for awhile as they learn appropriate behavior and expectations.

Being able to look back over the past 6 months, the boys have come so very far. Most of the discipline that is happening now is for very age-appropriate behaviors, and that thrills me to no end! Not that I like discipline, but that the boys are maturing emotionally and socially towards their actual ages. When I am frustrated with a perceived plateau, I only need to think back a few months are realize how much progress we all have made. It makes me smile. :)


Diana said...

I'd like to know the answers as well! We're still working on this one even a year later. Those survival skills are just so darn hard to get rid of sometimes! Hang in there and keep looking back.

Kathy & Matt said...

I can't say that I'm an expert at this at all, but we've experienced some of the same issues, especially related to not listening (meaning, not doing what she was told or directly disobeying). Here's what seems to be working for us, some days better than others (LOL!).

We've talk to her about what it means to be a big girl (she's 4 1/2) and when she shows us she is a big girl, there are special privileges that big kids get - like having her CD player & CDs in her room, playing with a special toy, going to the park or special places, etc. (she loves music, but whatever things are most important to her at that time)

We told her that one part of being a big girl is listening and doing what she's told. That includes listening to mommy & daddy, our nanny, her pre-school teacher, her Sunday school teachers, her gymnastics teacher, etc. We tried to list the key people she could understand.

When we see her blatantly disobeying or hear from a someone that she has not been listening in school, etc., we put the important item (CD/music, trip to the park, etc) on a time out for a few days...until she can demonstrate how she is listening and doing what she is told.

I can't say we've completely solved the problem, but some of it is a general behavior issue for this age, and in many ways she now recognizes when she's disobeyed so we're making progress.

I look forward to hearing other feedback you get. The more ideas the better!

SB said...

With Shelby any time-outs at daycare would mean a loss of something at home. TV time, dessert, etc. Whatever she was 'into' at the time. Each day I would hear about her behavior and use facial expressions to show how I felt about it. If it was a bad day, we would talk about it before I drove off. There would be tears most days, but I made sure to give big hugs, remind her of my expectations and tell her how much I love her no matter what. She went through a biting stage at 18 months, so there was always a concern that she would go back to that.
With both kids, I use a number system when I want something done. I make my request and count backwards from 5. (Slower for younger age.) Sometimes, I have to say a number and repeat my request and then say the next number. The idea is if they don't do what I've asked by the time I get to 0 it's a time out. (I don't count up cause I want to think of it like a timer.) After the time out, we talk about how important it is to listen and follow instructions. Syd turns 3 at the end of the month and she's great at "not listening" However the past 4 months have gotten better. Now Shelby will respond by the number 3 and I count much faster for her. Hope this helps!

Marsha said...

My kids are 14, 12, and 10 ... and we STILL revisit this issue from time to time. My 12 year old son recently had to sit on the sidelines at the swimming pool and watch the other two play ... simply for not listening/following through on something he had been told to do. He knew what the consequences would be if he didn't do what was asked of him, but he CHOSE to disobey. I talked to him about how disobedience is a CHOICE, and how he needed to make better choices. Also, I started when they were very young having them repeat both what they were being asked to do, AND the consequences if they "forgot". (kidtalk for I didn't feel like doing it.) Good luck!!

Missy and Kevin said...

Hey!! I completely understand what you guys are going through. Deonna has a listening problem too. She likes to ask "Why" and then when I give her the answer to whatever it might be at the time she tells me no. She is very headstrong. She also likes to hug on people,not strangers anymore, thank goodness, but when she hugs she tends to hang on by legs,arms whatever. We have been working on this for a very long time now. I do believe part of the problem is me and Kevin not following through with time out or whatever the punishment might be. We both are definitely changing that pronto!!! Deonna turns on the tears too, alot. It breaks my heart but I think I have figured her out. lol What discipline do you use with the boys? I need help too!! Here we go again. She just got out of the tub and saw a moth. She said "butterfly." I told her it was a moth. Before I could get another word out she tells me "No". I correct her and tell her she doesn't tell me no and I begin to tell her that a moth is like a butterfly but it is a moth. "No." Help me!! lol Take care and pray the Lord gives us wisdom and guidance. I did not have this problem with my boys. This is totally new to me. God bless!!!