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  1. #1
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    Default Bible-Based Obedience

    Not long ago, a mother of two taught me a way to teach your child to obey. I know that the word these days has been changed to "Listen", but the Bible refers to it as "Obey". Around the age of 3 (when a child should be expected to learn how to obey) is when you can start this.

    Obedience is 4 things:
    1) Immediate
    2) Without Question
    3) Without Complaining
    4) Completely
    Sometimes, a warning can be given (such as making your hand in the shape of an "O"). If your child still doesn't obey, there is a consequence (i.e., time out, toy taken away, etc.) After the consequence is done, the child needs to sit down and hear why it's important to obey his/her parents. So the child doesn't feel overwhelmed, only one of the four points can be talked about. If a child can learn how to obey like this, they will know how God expects them to obey.

    As a Christian or religious person, do you agree or disagree with this method of teaching a child to "listen" and why? What has really worked for you and your family? By the way, this thread is not to bash other people's ways of thinking.

  2. #2
    Expert Forum User The Ultimate London Mom!
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    Well, for me I feel like I don't *want* to teach my child to obey immediately, completely, and without question. In fact I find the notion rather alarming.

    I want my child to know her own feelings, and trust in her inherent goodness. I want her to learn how to communicate her position to other people, and listen to where they are coming from in return.

    I want her to know she is owed the *why* of things. I want her natural curiosity to thrive and not be deadened by severe arbitrary correction. I want her to know she is a human worthy of respect, and that those around her are also worthy of respect.

    I feel like my role as mother is to choreograph in a way, to create a container for her within which to explore. My rules basically are that she cannot do anything that may cause harm to herself or someone else (people or animals), and that she can't act in ways that create unpleasantness for other people (like super loud behaviour in a coffee shop, for example).

    When I tell her "no" to something, I explain the why. I expect that she will follow my guidance. Usually she does. If not, I usually do parent imposed direct consequences, not arbitrary punishments.

    Like, we go grocery shopping together and she walks beside the cart and helps pick veggies, grind coffee, etc. She asks for things she wants and I will either get them or say no and why ("not on sale," "not healthy," etc).

    If she wreaks havoc in any way, I tell her to stop and why. Like one time she spilled coffee beans all over the floor. I told her to stop, people will trip, etc. If you do that again you will need to ride on my back. She did it again, I put her on my back for the rest of the trip. When she cried to get down I said no and why, but it wasn't like she was being actively punished. We had a pleasant rest of the shopping trip and chatted about stuff, with her on my back.

    I tried time outs briefly but they didn't really do anything. I was frustrated coz I couldn't get her to stop bothering the animals (she was 2.5). It did nothing and we had a rough few weeks. Finally my housemate had the idea to rig up a gate and put the animals on the other side of it if she is not gentle. I did this, she hated it, and really within 48 hours she was WAY better. Now she is gentle with the animals pretty much all the time.

    That's what I do.
    LondonMoms has really gone downhill, ever since they started chit chatting in the home and garden forum. There is a place for chit chat, people!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by myrrah
    ...I want her to know she is owed the *why* of things...
    I know that I didn't state this in the prior post, but how it was explained to me is that the answer to "Why?" should be explained after the child obeyed. An example of this is when a child is in an unsafe place (like the middle of the road)...you don't want to say "Come here," and the child ask "Why?". You want him/her to do the four listed things, then you explain why you told him/her to come.

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    Senior Member MonsterMom's Avatar
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    myrrah - Please come over and give me a few parenting lessons, pretty please!!!! Maybe you could teach a few classes :P

    I love how you just described your ideas about parenting. That's really what I aspire to but fail horribly at. I always end up giving in, screaming and being completely useless. gah.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chache

    I know that I didn't state this in the prior post, but how it was explained to me is that the answer to "Why?" should be explained after the child obeyed. An example of this is when a child is in an unsafe place (like the middle of the road)...you don't want to say "Come here," and the child ask "Why?". You want him/her to do the four listed things, then you explain why you told him/her to come.
    Well, I've heard this before, and honestly I think it is a bit offbase.

    Partly I think, my child trusts me more because I do not bark arbitrary orders. It's not like behaviour training a dog, which is what that reminds me of. They can differentiate between critical and non-critical situations. Mine would read the urgency in my voice.

    I would imagine she would be less likely to listen quickly if I required it all the time, because the indignity of being expected to comply without question would be something she would rebel against. I know I would, wouldn't you?

    And, re: the running in the road example, which is the particular thing I've heard a lot to illustrate why blind obedience is so important, where would there be a child for whom the fact that you shouldn't run into the road would come as a shock, when they are already in the road? I explained that to my child at a very young age. Who would really wait for a "now they are in the street" crisis to explain that one?

    I think given that the vast majority of children have been told it's not safe to be in the road, coupled with the urgency in the parent's voice when yelling to them and rushing to get them out of harm's way, a child who has even basic trust for the parent is going to be at least as likely to respond swiftly in compliance as a child who has been trained "obey first, and maybe your questions will be answered later."
    LondonMoms has really gone downhill, ever since they started chit chatting in the home and garden forum. There is a place for chit chat, people!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MonsterMom
    myrrah - Please come over and give me a few parenting lessons, pretty please!!!! Maybe you could teach a few classes :P

    I love how you just described your ideas about parenting. That's really what I aspire to but fail horribly at. I always end up giving in, screaming and being completely useless. gah.
    Ha! Well, thanks!

    Actually among the hippie gentle discipline mothers I know, I feel like a bit of a hardcore. Kind of funny I guess, context is all. I mean, I definitely have rules that need to be followed. My kid does get the why, however. And they are rules with real meaning that is important to me. I've eliminated arbitrary rules as I feel they create a power struggle.
    LondonMoms has really gone downhill, ever since they started chit chatting in the home and garden forum. There is a place for chit chat, people!!!

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    This is going to sound terrible, but the first thing that popped into my head when the four points of obedience were listed was that, imagine that a child was taken advantage of by a parent or relative and was told to obey and not to tell anybody because they are not to question or complain about it? There is no outlet for a child to express him/herself if she has to obey someone else of authority.

    If we are teaching a child how to obey because of their safety (eg. never touch a hot stove, don't run into the middle of the street), I can see how this might work, but I think there must be alternate of teaching obedience instead of applying these four points each time.

    we aren't raising an army, we are raising children.

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    I get frustrated with my 3.5 year old b/c he doesn't do what he is asked all the time immediately. But as frustrated as I get, I admire him b/c he needs to think things through and he needs to understand that what is being asked of him has signifinicance ansd value. I don't want him to follow me unquestionly.

    As for the road example, in my particular case, my son has somehow learned when it is important to listen immediately and in issues of safteyl he always does. It is simply not an issue.
    K
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    This reminds me too much of the old-way of "Do as I say not what I do" and "Do not speak unless spoken to". The way of thinking where children were decorations, everything was 'proper", wives did as they were instructed etc...

    That's just what came to my mind with this post.

    I would rather teach my children right from wrong, in a loving way (it's brutally hard sometimes not to say "BECAUSE I SAID SO!" gah), and earn their trust and respect, not demand it. Then they WILL listen to me when I screech GET OFF THE ROAD! Because they know I have a reason for saying it like that, at that moment. I always explain myself.

    Those guidelines speak to me as a way of "controlling" children, not teaching them. And that can invoke fear. I don't feel comfortable with it, myself.

    These are truly my feelings and opinions.

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    I don't have a lot of experience yet with the whole "listen/obey me" routine, as my daughter's only 1. However, I have given a quick passing thought to the emergency/danger situation and have already invoked this. As a general rule, I do not raise my voice to my daughter even when I'm frustrated and when I do she stops and IMMEDIATELY listens. So far this has only come in handy with "SHANNON, NO" (applied to a hot cup of coffee on the coffee table when I was on the other side of the room.... bad, I know... I didn't realize she was cruising already) and "SHANNON, STOP!" when she was about to crawl off of the bed. It's funny how even at 10 or 11 months she is able to distinguish between when it's truly important to comply.... (of course it's also likely just the shock of hearing mommy raise her voice).

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    I go back to the theory.... of... would I do something just because someone told me too.... I think not!!!! I would think it out first. Besides the whole adult taking advantage of a child thing also pops into my head. That is like telling them to do that and then their friend says "let's jump off the bridge" .... do as your friend does saying. I want my child to think for herself.

    As expressed earlier my children can tell the urgency in my voice. For one I never really yell for them so if I sudden did it would surely get their attention... even know in their teens when they make wrong choices we sit down and talk about them.... asking why the choose what they did and if they would choose differently having the knowledge they now have.

    For instance... our LO got a hold of her sisters razor who left it out.... she ended up taking it to her thumb... you know the rest... not a good scene. Anyway we talked to shaylin about it then to older daughter.... both agree that one they won't leave it out and two she won't touch it as it hurts. See... situation under control.
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  12. #12
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    I do know quite a bit of biblical passages and have a Christian household to the best of our abilities of course, not perfect by any means, children are called to respect and obey their parents yes, but parents are also called to exasperate their children either. Without questions you do not learn, without complaining you cannot learn your boundaries. I do not allow disrespectful talk from my older daughter. But if I constantly raise my voice to her, then I am all but giving her permission to do unto me as well. I don't allow myself to be pestered about the same issue. If my daughter feels that I've misunderstood what she's wanting and I've said no, then she gets one appeal only, so I let her know that she needs to take a step back and think about that appeal before she brings it to me again cuz I'm not going to hear about it a bunch of times, not with 3 girls. Those 4 points are for the army really, I want my daughter to respect me and do what I ask b/c it's the right thing to do. Should she OBEY me and just into the middle of our busy street at my command? And without question or complaints and this instant? You bet I'm going to have to explain clearly why I think she should do such a foolish thing.
    And when the issue is a serious offense, which I've been very blessed NOT to have encountered, there will be a consequence that will be suitable and not take away from her self esteem. I'm BIG on teaching self-esteem, I've requested my daughter to write me an essay on the issue of " Why Self Esteem Should Never Come at the Expense of Someone Else". The efforts I've made have paid off in several ways. I have a daughter who is highly sought after to babysit as she is so good with children and she is great at making people feel better!
    As for me, I don't mention it often but back in Guelph at the playgroup center we went to, I was referred to/requested by university students from U of G, and Wilfred Laurier in Kit/Waterloo who were doing their thesis's at term end come and interview me for their thesis...those going for their ECE. I was flattered but at the same time always thought, "I'm just me, I'm not special, just a mom who loves what she does!" If I sound scattered, plse forgive as I tried to short strokes my thoughts. . Yes in part I use the Bible to rear our girls, but mostly from the heart of love for my girls!! I've never felt called to beat them into compliance........EVER! The only beatings my girls get from me is their minimum of 50 kisses a day! My *twin specialist* daughter is 14 and wants her kisses and now gives them freely to her sisters. Poor twins won't have a face left by their 5th b-day.....MUAH-HA-HA!

    HAVE FUN WITH YOUR KIDS LADIES............THEIR YOUR BLESSINGS!

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    so... I don't read those obedience guidelines and think things suggested by PP like barking commands at kids, stifling creativity, invoking fear, or controlling children.

    I actually agree that children should be taught to obey immediately, completely and without question. But that to me doesn't have to be harsh, controlling or abusive. Like every parenting style it can be taken to extremes. I don't think it has to fall under the category of arbitrary correction. I don't believe that a parent should bark commands at their child every 2 seconds, but I do believe that a respectful and harmonious relationship can be formed between parent and child if obedience is taught this way.

    First time obedience is more about consistancy than a parent wanting "control" over their child. I'd rather have my kid know that the first no means no than go through whining and repeated challenges and the confusion that comes with a kid not really ever knowing when their parent actually means what they say.

    I will expect this type of obedience from my son, but it won't be Obey because I said so. There will be lots of conversations about why certain rules are in place, lots of opportunities to answer questions and and discuss things. I want my son to learn respect and also maintain and foster his curiousity and creativity. What I don't want is to be standing in the grocery store listening to him whine and make a huge scene because I told him he couldn't fill the cart with whatever he wanted. kwim?

    I think child training should be proactive and directive rather than reactive and restrictive. I believe in what is called "parenting inside the funnel". We all know that moral, intellectual and physical growth happens gradually. At 5 your child has more self control and understanding than they did at 2. So I believe that to allow a 2 year old freedoms appropriate for a 5 year old doesn't facilitate a healthy learning pattern. IMO Freedoms greater than self control = developmental confusion. Freedoms less than self control = developmental frustration and Freedoms equal to self control = developmental harmony. My desire for developmental harmony makes it necessary that I grant freedoms to my son only after he attains the age-appropriate level of self control.

    So as my child grows he will understand and we will talk lots more about the "whys" and as he demonstrates responsible behavior and sound judgement he will attain greater levels of freedom and hopefully result in a developmentally healthy child who is a joy to everyone! That is the dream anyway- right?!

    Anyway.... didn't mean to spill my whole parenting philosophy... just thought this type of obedience was maybe being misinterpreted by those who have possibly had exposure to the extremes? It's a great big huge responsibility to help guide our children through their early years as they develop and when I provide correction or rules I haven't done so just out of a desire to control my child, but for their best interests- and for that reason I expect him to respect that.

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    The description in the OP is just about the exact definition of authoritarian parenting.

    I agree with the PPs who mentioned that the running out into the road example doesn't hold water. If your child is too young to understand not to run out into the road, then obviously they need to be supervised near the road and redirected as needed. And if they are old enough to understand but won't listen anyway, then it's time for a natural or logical consequence - obviously the natural consequence in this case would be dangerous, so what about the logical consequence of having to stay inside where mommy knows you can't run out onto the road for awhile? Our kids don't have to obey us immediately or else; freeing them to make their own decisions (depending of course on their age) and showing them the natural consequences of their choices teaches them to make good choices. Expecting them to obey whatever we say immediately doesn't teach them decision-making skills at all; it teaches them "listen to mommy or I'll get in trouble."
    I remember reading a parenting book by a Christian shrink who talks about using natural and logical consequences whenever possible in order to teach kids good decision-making skills - he calls it "Reality Discipline." I disagree with many of the things he says (he's pro-spanking - granted only as a very last resort on very rare occasions) and not much of what he said was particularly original, but it was quite interesting to read his take on things about parenting, especially what he had to say about praise vs encouragement, controlling behaviour in parents and children, and whether or not the Bible really does promote spanking (he believes it doesn't and has some interesting reasoning). Anyways the book is called Bringing Up Kids Without Tearing Them Down if anyone's interested.

    Quote Originally Posted by thesods
    I think child training...
    I don't think children should be trained at all. As parents our job is to facilitate their learning and socialization rather than to train them, IMO.

    just thought this type of obedience was maybe being misinterpreted by those who have possibly had exposure to the extremes?
    Similarly, I think you might be misinterpreting the above posts to mean that people are okay with their children whining and arguing with them, being given more freedom than they can handle, and leading lives of confusion and inconsistency. (At least that's what is sounds like from your post - that basically the reasoning behind your parenting style is that if you don't go that route you'll end up with chaos.) Obviously no one wants that for their children.

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    Wow, thesods! After I read your post, I realized that we have a very similar parenting philosophy. I couldn't have summed it up better myself!

    Quote Originally Posted by mamabear
    Quote Originally Posted by thesods
    I think child training...
    I don't think children should be trained at all. As parents our job is to facilitate their learning and socialization rather than to train them, IMO.
    The Bible says in Proverbs 22:6
    Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

    Quote Originally Posted by mamabear
    I remember reading a parenting book by a Christian shrink who talks about using natural and logical consequences whenever possible in order to teach kids good decision-making skills - he calls it "Reality Discipline.".
    I think you're referring to Psychologist Dr. Kevin Leman. I find Dr. Leman brings practical and down-to-earth principles into his parenting advice with a biblical perspective.

    The Bible says in Philippians 6:1-4
    Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
    Honour your father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise.
    That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
    And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

    Like I said in my prior post, this thread is not to bash other people's way of thinking. (This topic was started in the Religion section to get a religious point of view.)

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