Why Don’t Your Children Behave?

Have you ever looked at other people’s children and wondered why they’re so well behaved, while your children aren’t?  Can you take your children to a restaurant and make it through a meal without being frustrated?  Can you have a conversation with another adult without being interrupted?  We’ve all been there, we’ve all been frustrated with our kids and struggled with how to make them behave.

I’ll let you in on a little secret… Everyone’s children misbehave.  The trick is to TRAIN them to obey.  Obedient children don’t happen by magic or accident.  I can’t promise that training will always work, but I guarantee you, that it WILL drastically improve your child’s obedience.
Before they can understand why they need to obey, children must be taught to have a heart for obedience.  The Bible tells us in Ephesians 6:1, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”  In our home, our children love Jesus and they love being able to memorize bible verses.  One of the very first verses that they learned was Ephesians 6:1.  We repeat it often; this is because they need to understand that God wants them to obey their parents, just as He wants all of us to obey Him.  Our obedience to God shows our love for Him.


Here are a few simple ideas to help you train your children to obey.

First, teach them HOW to LISTEN!

Children have to be able to LISTEN in order to obey.  Have you ever heard of the concept of whole body listening?  No?  Me either, until a few years ago…  If you google, “whole body listening definition,” it explains how one gives different parts of the body a specific job.  This enables one to focus on what is being said and really absorb it.  It uses parts of the body that the speaker can see (ears, eyes, mouth, and hands), as well as those the speaker cannot see (i.e. the brain and heart).  Basically, you are teaching your child how to focus themselves on what you want them to do.  I can easily incorporate whole body listening by asking my children to “Give Me 5.”  This teaches them what I expect from them to show they are actively listening.  This way, they’re not distracted, they can hear the words I say AND actually comprehend the direction given.

Once they learn how to listen, they need to practice!  You want them to develop this skill well enough for it to become second nature.  My favorite way to do this, is through games.  We’ve all played Telephone before.  That’s a great way to start.  Another idea is to play the “Tell Me What I Said Game,” (directions: http://mosswoodconnections.com/activities/new-auditory-processing-activities/tell-me-what-i-said/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_tribes&utm_content=tribes)

Make it fun for them!  All kids love games!


Then Teach them HOW to OBEY!

Once children fully grasp how to listen, they need to be trained to obey.  If your children do not come to you when you say to come, they aren’t fully obedient.  Think about this, if you tell your child to come to you at home and they don’t, no biggie, right?  WRONG!  If you don’t train them to obey while you’re in the home, what will happen when you’re in a parking lot, or in front of a car, but they run the opposite direction?  That’s a scenario that no one wants to be in.  So what’s the solution?  Training!  Kids love fun and games.  So we train them to obey with fun and games!


The most successful way I’ve seen this accomplished is what I affectionately refer to as “Puppy Training.”  Everyone knows you train a new puppy to obey with simple commands such as: sit, stay, and come.  Not everyone knows that this works well for little human babies too!  Teach your child to obey your command by standing a few feet away and telling them to come to you.  When the child obeys, make a huge deal by lavishing them with praise.  Repeat a few times and then back farther away.  Repeat.  And repeat.  And repeat…. As many times/days/weeks as it takes.  If your child learns, but then starts to forget, train them again!  The ultimate goal is that your child should come to you whenever you call to them without any questions or hesitations.

Here is a link to other games that work well for teaching obedience.https://www.triumphantlearning.com/teach-child-obey-games/
The biggest issue with my children’s obedience is when I have adult company over.  They want to join in on the conversation so badly they can’t stand it!  Someone once gave me some advice on how to handle that (obviously she could see I needed help!) and it has worked wonders for me!  Teach your child that while you’re speaking to another adult, and they need your attention, they should place their hand on your arm.  You will acknowledge them by placing your hand on top of theirs so they know you recognize their need.  When you get to a stopping place in your conversation, acknowledge their turn by asking, “What did you need to say?”  After practicing this a few times, my children got the hang of it!  Of course, we still need reminders every now and then, but their interrupting has gotten so much better!
Like I said, I can’t promise that your children will become perfect little angels, but I can promise you that these training tools have worked wonders for my little ones!