It’s simple and it doesn’t take long at all to make your kids totally stone deaf to your voice. Just tell them to do things, and then don’t follow through. Go into a store, and tell them not to touch the toys on the shelf and then when they start ripping open packages, just look the other way. Put dinner on and tell them that they don’t get ice cream unless they eat their vegetables. Then serve the ice cream, ignoring the broccoli on their plates. I’ve always wondered how the child who cannot hear, “Eat your vegetables” said in a loud voice can super-easily hear “ice cream” when it is whispered between Mom and Dad!
Many mothers lament: “My kids won’t listen to me!” A little observation and it is pretty to see why. Mommy lies. She tells her children to stop fighting or she’ll turn around and drive home instead of to the park. Then when the children get to the park arguing the whole way, she lets them get out and play.
Every mom wants to raise good kids that are respectful and listen and obey. But not all of us moms have the gumption to make that happen. We’re tired. We’re sorry we made such big requests—maybe it’s too hard on little Johnny. We’re busy. We’re afraid to withhold rewards for fear we’ll damage them psychologically. We’re not up to a fight today.
We’ve got lots of excuses, but basically, it takes a lot of courage to be a mom that raises good kids. There isn’t much wiggle room when it comes to being true, making sure your word is good and that you follow through absolutely.
What I learned the hard way, after several children, was to keep my mouth shut more. (Not that I always did it, but I definitely learned it!) Only request what you are willing to get up off the couch and make happen. If you want Johnny’s pajamas on, get eye contact and tell him so once (not 3 times, which is officially called “nagging”). You just committed yourself to stop checking your email and make sure those pajamas are on 10 minutes after you gave your son the order. Once in a blue moon, Johnny might put them on without your “supervision”, but don’t bank on it. Following up is the only way to teach Johnny that you mean what you say. After 100 nights of Mommy making sure those jammies are on 10 minutes after the command, you might get rewarded with Jimmy strolling out in his PJs 9 minutes later, while you are still checking your email. Maybe. Kid training takes effort. It is not for the faint-hearted. Or lazy. Or even tired. That’s why God gives us the kids while we are young and can still get up off the couch.
I’m all for incentives and making things fun. Promise a story. Promise 2 stories if they can get their jammies on and get back to you before the 10 minute timer rings. Be warm, loving and playful. But don’t lie. If the timer rings before the jammies are on, no story.
Stone deaf kids are not that fun to live with. The older they get, the less fun it is. What’s cute at 4 is obnoxious at 9. The longer you wait to train them to listen to you, the harder it gets. It’s still possible, but it’s going to be rough-riding for a while while they learn to believe you mean what you say. And you’ll be tempted to slip back into the “look the other way” mode. But if a child can’t believe his own mother, what a very insecure world it is!
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