When training a child in first-time obedience, external compliance is great, but it’s not our ultimate goal. We must teach our children to have a submissive attitude as well as obedient behavior. The following is an excerpt from my eBook, Live in Harmony with First-Time Obedience.
Compliance with a yielding, submissive heart is our ultimate goal. If your child complies with your instruction but sulks off afterward, make him do it over. Discipline for attitude just as much as you would for behavior problems. Ezzo explains the importance behind training the child’s heart.
“Disciplining–heart training–is best accomplished by parenting from the first principle. Values-based discipline urges children to treat other people the way they want to be treated. Neither child-centered nor authoritarian parenting styles emphasize personal responsibility, inner growth, self-control, and other virtues the way first principle parenting does. We have found that if parents shape their child’s heart and character, they will not have to concentrate as much on reshaping the child’s outward behavior,” (On Becoming Childwise, p. 115).
As you go about your day, decide whether your child’s actions are coming from a heart of submission. For first-time obedience to be effective, the child must respond without challenging parental authority. There are some subtle and not-so-subtle ways that a child will challenge authority:
- She says “yes, mommy” with a smart, sarcastic tone.
- She mimics her parents.
- He says anything but “yes, mommy” such as “what?”
- He says nothing
- She says “yes, mommy” so quietly you can’t hear her.
In all of these examples, the child is refusing to submit to authority. Do not allow such responses. Have him repeat with the appropriate response and if he still refuses, send him to his bed to sit in isolation.