Behavior, Rules and Obedience

What Parents Can Do


Behavior


  • Parents must be a good example to their children, and compliment them for their good behavior.  
  • Keep your voice soft and calm while raising your children.  Don’t scream or yell in the home, and your children won’t either.  
  • Teach children to behave at home so they behave well in public and in other peoples’ homes.  
  • Teach children to choose their friends wisely, because they will tend to be like them.
  • Teach children to be honest.  Children who lie don’t feel important in the family or in life.  Many people lie in order to look good, or feel important, or feel better, or look good in the world.  Give positive reinforcement to children who lie to help them feel better about themselves.  Lying behavior will go down when they start feeling better about themselves.
  • Listen calmly as you talk about inappropriate behavior.  Honor their opinions, and they will share their feelings.  The way we respond (in terms of our own emotion and how we regulate it, and what we express) teaches children to either stuff feelings, or be self-aware and appropriately express them.  Tell your children they can always come to you with their problems.  
  • Illegal and immoral behaviors are not normal behavior—i.e., shoplifting, drug abuse—and children displaying this behavior need help.  Remember to continue to show and express unconditional love.  
  • Some believe the key to successful parenting may be 3-fold:  
1)  Be proactive –  Children must be taught social behavior (rather than correct it in the heat of the moment)—how to follow instructions, and how to accept “no” for an answer.  Teach appropriate behavior before problems ever occur, rather than reacting when a child doesn’t follow instructions.  The word discipline means to instruct, to educate, to train.  Talk about the importance of listening and obeying.  At a crisis moment, you are not trying to teach, but reminding the child of what has already been taught.  

2)  Be positive –  Develop a positive and strong relationship with children to effectively discipline them.  Praise is one of the best ways to shape a child’s behavior.  Spend most of your time looking for things your children do right, and they will continue to do things they are supposed to do.  When you give children attention when they do something inappropriate, they may keep doing that behavior.  Use the sandwich technique—when correcting inappropriate behavior, find something positive or empathetic up-front, then correct the behavior, and end with something positive.  Let kids know that we really do love them—the behavior is inappropriate, you are not inappropriate.  Make a conscious effort to find ways to praise your children.  If we spend 95% of our time reacting to appropriate behavior, then we will reduce the likelihood of inappropriate behavior.

3)  Be consistent – Children need high expectations.  No one rises to low expectations.  Every family should establish a set of rules and consequences.  Remember, punishing techniques do not teach appropriate/desired behavior.  So, if you really want a child to learn an appropriate replacement behavior, you have to teach it.  Children need consistent rules and consequences from both parents.  



Home Rules

  • Establish family rules, and enforce them with love.  
  • People need good, healthy relationships.  It has been said that…
1)  Rules and laws without relationships lead to rebellion.

2)  Relationships without rules lead to chaos. 

3)  Relationships with rules bring maturity.
  • Fathers— Never tolerate disrespect from your children toward their mother.  Teach your sons to treat their sisters and all women appropriately and with respect.  Teach your daughters to demand that kind of treatment from the men in their lives.
  • Don’t allow your children to fight.    
  • If no one wants to play with your child, then your child may possibly be the one with a problem.  Make time to find out why.  
  • Teach your children that bullying is unacceptable.  Children have a right to live in a safe environment.  Teach them that it’s OK to walk away.
  • Allow positive labels ONLY – People become what you label them:  great reader, wonderful cook, beautiful artist, creative, neat, hard worker, compassionate, friendly, kind, beautiful seamstress, or a great student.  Leave out damaging labels like dumb, clumsy, bad, lazy, mean, sloppy, slow, etc.  If we tell them long enough how good they are, they will believe it.  
  • Don’t allow sarcasm—it is always hurtful, offensive and demeaning, even if spoken in humor.  
  • Don’t lie to your children by being inconsistent.  For example, not following through on what you say you’ll do by saying they can’t have any dessert, and then give in; or by telling them to clean their room and they can go someplace, and then give in.  That undermines the credibility of the parent.  Kids know what you want them to do.  If you do have to tell them, only tell them once, and expect them to respond.  
  • Parents who purposely intervene to soften or eliminate the consequences of their children’s poor choices, reinforce the idea that there are no consequences for their actions—which opens the door for more problems.  It’s far better for parents to discipline their children while in the home, than for society to discipline them later.
  • Discipline your children when necessary, but never raise your hand in anger.  Do not be harsh and unkind with your hands.  Hands need to symbolize love, not hate and anger.  After disciplining, reassure your children of your love for them, so they do not think of you as their enemy.  No children should fear their parents.  Things done by love have lasting effect over discipline by fear.  
  • Know where your children are, and who is supervising them.  Even if children do not have the internet at home, they can access it at a friend’s house or the library.
  • Establish dating guidelines, such as age, curfew, dating in groups, a cell phone to keep in touch, and instructions to call home if they need to be picked up.  
  • Establish family media rules which also apply to the parents.   Keep inappropriate material out of your home--offensive magazines, music, movies, TV programs, video games.  Do not trust the rating system.  Use content blocking to control what children view on TV, and limit TV time.  Advertising today is defining the human connection almost entirely in terms of sex.  Most of the television programs, especially the sitcoms, are full of sexual content.  This overemphasizes the relative importance of sex in our lives and de-emphasizes other important things such as friendship, loyalty, fun, children, family, and community.  Advertisers use sex to sell everything from cars to candy.   
  • Avoid sleepovers, where many youth experience pornography, drugs and alcohol for the first time.  


Obedience

  • Kindly teach obedience at a very young age.  
  • It is normal for teenagers to question family values (comparing them with the values of their peer group), as they explore who they are, and what is meaningful to them.  This can create conflict between parent and child.  Eventually, children will sift family values and realize many of their family’s values still have a place in their life.  
  • Set up consequences for disobedience or unacceptable behavior, and allow children to learn some valuable lessons of life by experiencing the consequences of their behavior.  This will help prepare them to become the next generation of successful marriages and families.  
  • Discipline your children when necessary, but never raise your hand in anger.  Do not be harsh and unkind with your hands.  Hands need to symbolize love, not hate and anger.  After disciplining, reassure your children of your love for them, so they do not think of you as their enemy.  No child should fear their parents.  Things done by love have lasting effect, over discipline by fear.  
  • Parents who purposely intervene to soften or eliminate the consequences of their children’s poor choices, reinforce the idea that there are no consequences for their actions—which opens the door for more problems.  It’s far better for parents to discipline their children while in the home, than for society to discipline them later.
  • Teach your children to be obedient, and respond to your requests the first time.  Explain that you will only tell them once to do something.  Tell them once, and take action or hand out a consequence.  Resolve to stick to this program.  If you have a good program in place, and they know the consequences, and know they aren’t going to get out of those consequences, you don’t have to keep telling them–you won’t have to nag, threaten, remind, and warn them over and over–which they will perceive as lying.  Tell them, “You know what’s right and wrong.  You are responsible for what you do, and there are consequences.”  
  • “No” is the most character-building, two-letter word in the English language.  Giving children everything they want makes them selfish.  Avoid arguing by feeling you have to explain yourself to your children, explaining the why’s and why not’s.  
  • Children should pay more attention to parents than parents pay to children.  Expect obedience from children, and don’t persuade them to cooperate.  Simply say “No” to children. 
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