Everybody wants obedient kids.  Let’s face it, there’s nothing much worse than having to constantly be nagging, reminding or punishing just to get the household work done and have a peaceful, orderly home.

Problem:  Often we’re so busy coping with disobedience that we forget to teach our children exactly what obedience is.  Most parents train their children as they train their dogs.  That is, wait until the kid does something wrong, then snarl at him for it.  Sometimes the kid knew he was doing wrong.  Other times, it was just childish poor judgment.  In either case, snarling won’t give you the results you want.

What snarling will do for you is to produce children who have wounded hearts and resentments toward you.  Walls will come up between you and your child that weren’t there before.  By the time he’s a teenager, you’ll find that you two don’t have a lot to talk about—if he’s not in open rebellion.

It’s strange that we so often don’t realize that children need to be trained.  It’s easy to bark orders and then snarl if they’re not obeyed satisfactorily.  But we’ve found that we can avoid a lot of that if we put out the effort to let them know what it is we’re looking for in their behavior- what we want and what we don’t.  In other words, teach them what is right behavior and what is not, and reward the right and correct the wrong.  (You’ll find some wonderful stories you can use to teach this to your younger children in Crossroads of Character)

Sounds simple, but it takes some work.  Still, training works better than snarling every time.  What are you doing to teach your child how to please you?

~ Rick

You might like: Obedience from the Heart- available as a Download, CD or DVD

Latest posts by Marilyn (see all)

About Marilyn

Marilyn is wife to Rick, Mom to 14 children, Nana to 22 grandchildren (and counting!) and homeschooler for 37 years. She and her husband own Character Concepts which they started for the purpose of helping others raise children with a strong, godly character and Biblical worldview.They have developed character curriculum from preschool through high school, based on what they found worked when teaching their own 14 children over the years. Her passion is to help young moms raise kids of character and enjoy the journey!

4 Replies to “Part 1: Obedient Hearts- STOP SNARLING, START TRAINING”

  1. I’mso happy to be stumbling on a site like this giving importance to the development years of children for them to be a better citizren when they grow up.I agree Everything starts at home.I have 2 children to my loving husband thats very hardworking and me as a house wife and at the same time working at home is the one taking care of disciplining our children sometimes my husbands if he emcounters something.We are a /god feraing family we believe in instilling in our home what /god is always have taught us ever since traditional values.Passed down from my parents we believe in being also transparent explaining evrything to our children in a way they will understand it giving also them a chance to be heard for them to be able to be heard.I’m happy in a way of this site helping and giving out assistance on avery important task of our lives how to bring up our children the right way…More power I want to share more but i think I sahred enough..till next time

  2. Dear Rick and Marilyn,

    Thank you for sharing at the MassHOPE convention. What a joy to sit with my husband and listen to you both! My husband enjoyed you, Rick, at the men’s “coffee time”.

    The years have a way of flying by. I wish that I had been much more consistent at training our girls over the years. Without going into a lot of details, I feel that I have lost our oldest daughter’s heart. She has always been independent minded: never liked to be told to do something. There were times it was easier to do “it” myself than to ask her to do it or to train her to do it. She is 16, and I don’t know how to gain her respect. There is a lot I’ve done wrong: grumbling, complaining. My heart is aching for the lost years of relationship and fun we could have had learning. She always preferred to do things her way. A nugget of hope or a gentle shove in God’s direction for restoring this relationship, would be so much appreciated. And, would you please pray that the Lord would make me into a more godly mommy?; one who does not react or expect; rather a mommy who is loves and delights in all 3 very different daughters.

    God bless you for all you do for homeschooling families.
    Affectionately in Christ,

  3. This is great! We have an almost 2 1/2 year old and an 8 week old 🙂 Our oldest does so well with the “training” concept. I love it too! It makes it easy for her to be successful and she has fun with the different trainings we do. If she does make a mistake or bad decision, we do a “training” for it, and the next time she usually makes the right choice, or I can just give her a little reminder. We all need reminders from time to time. Plus, I find it makes my heart softer and more understanding especially on those extra tiring days haha! Instead of going straight to a punishment, we can do a training first. Such a positive way to discipline. Thanks for all you do!

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