“Shaani STTTOOOPPPPP!”, screamed her mother, as people watched in horror as the 4 year girl ran across the busy road with cars and trucks speeding by. It was nothing short of a miracle that the child did not get hit. There were sighs of relief as her mother ran and caught her. Shaani seemed completely oblivious to the danger she had just been in.
Thankfully, not all of us, may have gone through what Shaani’s mother did that day, but we do encounter situations where we may realise how completely out of control our children are, or the fact that they just don’t care about what we say.
Getting your child to listen to you, is something that is not just a nice thing for children to do, but one that is essential to the child’s safety and protection. It’s not worth taking a risk of a child not listening to you in a situation where their life is in danger.
In this blog I will be writing about why I believe it Is so important for children to learn to obey their parents. This will be followed by some practical tips about how to get your child to listen to you in the next part.
The What and the Why
So what do I mean by ‘how to get your child to listen to you’. For some it may sound like an authoritarian mindset or a dictatorship. But it is by no means that. Rather, it is a very loving directing of your child towards the right path. I do believe that God has very intentionally designed families in a certain way. He has given children to parents, and there is a huge responsibility a parent has, to teach their children what is right and wrong, what is acceptable and what is not.
At the same time, I also want to add that each stage of parenting is different. As the child grows older, it becomes a lot less directive, and far more suggestive, allowing children to make their own choices and bear the consequences of it, while always giving unconditional love and support.
But in the preschool years, the role of a parent must be far more directive. Many of us are so used to dealing with adults and giving them space, as well as living in a post-modern world where each person decides what they feel is best for them, that we can very easily bring this thinking into the way we parent as well.
But unlike adults, children’s brains are not yet fully developed. They do not have the ability and neural pathways to make decisions taking into account the larger picture or the different consequences that we as adults may be aware of. For example, it’s winter time, but your child may want to wear a vest and shorts to go play outside. He or she may not be aware of the consequence of getting sick, or the importance of protecting one’s body. Another example is food – your child may not have the ability to comprehend the importance of eating healthy or the long term effects of sweets on their teeth or junk food on their various internal organs. As parents, it is our responsibility to ensure that our children are protected, eating well, respecting others and learning how to live in society.
Besides that, your child will invariably come across hazardous situations, such as not touching electric wires or hot things, or not leaving your hand in a mall or while crossing a street, etc. If your child hasn’t learnt to obey you or trust and respect your words, then what guarantee do you have that they will listen to you in a life threatening situation.
It’s not too late to train your child to learn to listen to you.
In the next blog, I will be writing about practical ways you can help teach your child to listen to you. Stay tuned!
Go to Part 2.