Model Behavior

At our house, we strive for the big F.T.O. (first time obedience).

When Alec was born, we were determined to enforce it from the beginning. As soon as we felt his comprehension was up to par, if he didn't stop when we said stop or come when we said come, there would be a consequence. When Benji was born, we went a little soft because of his health issues (his story coming in a couple weeks on his birthday), but still enforced what we could. Now that Ava's two and sometimes very obstinate, we're revisiting our F.T.O. rules and expectations.

This ran through my mind the other day as I was asking Alec for the third time to put on his shoes:

We believe that we are to model the behavior and attitudes that we wish our children to display. That having been said, here's a scenario: I'm folding a pile of laundry. Alec calls to me, "Mom! Can you help me with this Lego?" I say, "Just a minute honey, let me finish folding these clothes and then I'll be there."
Scenario number two: We're getting ready to leave for school. I say, "Alec, please get your shoes and coat on." Two minutes later, I look over and he's playing with a toy, not doing what I asked.

On one hand, if we are to model behavior for our children, I should immediately stop folding laundry and rush to Alec's side, to demonstrate F.T.O. On the other hand, Alec needs to learn to be patient, be independent, and to realize that I'm not his servant, at his beck and call. It's a tough call!

I recently asked a wise friend what her opinion was and she shared this with me: At her house, she thinks before she asks. Meaning that if she needs her son to put away laundry but he's playing in his room, instead of saying, "Jerod, come and put your laundry away!", she says, "Hey Jerod! When you get a minute, could you put your laundry away?" Or, "Jerod, I need you to put your laundry away by six o'clock." So, she still requires F.T.O., but it's within a designated time frame, not necessarily immediate.

We certainly don't want our children to be robots or servants, but at the same time, they must learn that obeying, honoring and respecting their earthly parents is one of the highest commands of our heavenly father. Among the many examples: Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

So, obedience is kind of a big deal around here! How do you enforce it at your house?

6 readers took time to leave a thought:

Kelli January 15, 2009 at 8:38 PM  

Very good point about us being models because I tell my children (mostly my oldest) "just a minute" all of the time. We try for FTO too especially with our youngest who I swear is the most stubborn child EVER! This is a new concept to me because my oldest listened for the most part. I also try to eliminate the distrations once I asked my oldest to do something so that she can focus on the task.

Aleah January 15, 2009 at 9:28 PM  

We're the same way.

In the locker room showers after swimming
Me: "Cole & Ella it's time to get out of the shower"
Cole & Ella: smile but don't start moving
Me: saying nothing start lifting my fingers 1...and 1/2 and out they come : )
Someday I won't have to lift a finger! ha ha

Of course there are plenty of times when they test.
They're learning along the way - like us!
Different tactics for different personalities!

Great verse along with that paragraph! There's so many pre-teen/teenagers now adays that have no respect for authority or elders.
Hmm...I wonder why? ; )

Have a great weekend come tomorrow!

Kate January 15, 2009 at 10:07 PM  

Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...is really all I have to say. I just started "time-outs" today. Mylo is 20 months and SERIOUSLY pushing boundaries. I have NO IDEA how to do this whole discipline/obedience thing. Can you do PERMANENT time-outs? And its so difficult to have the energy to stay on top of it with having a 6 week old too!! I need him to just listen and do what I say 'cause Mama's TIRED!!!

4 Little Men and Twins January 15, 2009 at 11:39 PM  

I just tagged you. :)


The Popes January 16, 2009 at 8:44 AM  

What great perspective!
We strive for the same FTO with our 2 year old and I often feel like a hypocrite for not doing the same, but like you said, I am not her servant!
I love the time frame idea. That shall go into effect tonight!

Jessie January 17, 2009 at 10:20 PM  

Oh I like this idea! I have a 9 month old so don't really have to deal with discipline yet. But I know it's coming. I will have to try this plan.

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