The following Parenting Tip is from the National Center for Biblical Parenting. Click on the link to subscribe for FREE E-mail tips. The Elkhorn Hills UMC Adult Education Committee has sponsored parenting classes from the National Center for Biblical Parenting in the past. A number of their books are available in the Elkhorn Hills UMC library.
|“But my kids won’t listen unless I get angry.”
That’s what parents say when we tell them to avoid using anger to get things done.
And often it’s true, but only because children learn to wait until you’re angry before they have to obey. You give your kids cues to know when you mean business. Those cues tell your child that it’s time to respond because your action point is coming next.
If you find that you’ve relying on anger to motivate your children, then it’s time to make a change. First, though, you need to develop a new plan. What signals do you want to use to indicate that it’s time to clean up, or it’s time to go? Maybe you’ll use the child’s name and obtain eye contact and use the word “now” in the instruction.
When you’re ready to make the change, talk with your children. Explain that you have been wrong in teaching them to wait until you get angry before they start obeying. From now on you are going to tell them once, then comes the action. If your child doesn’t respond to the new cues then move right to a consequence.
You may use a warning at first as your children are learning to respond to new cues. This helps them see that you mean business, but don’t add several warnings or you defeat the purpose. Develop a routine with your kids so that they know when discussion or delays are over and obedience is required.
We don’t encourage parents to always demand obedience. Children also learn from negotiation, compromise, and cooperation, but there is a time for children to respond whether they like it or not. Your kids need to know when that is and clarifying your action point will help them learn it.