How would you feel when you and your 10-year old child are locked up in a battle of wills, and that same child keeps winning you?

Even when you direct the child to carry out a certain task, he refuses to adhere because he believes you have lost control over him. On the other hand, when you ask the child not to do a particular thing he is about to do, he turns deaf ears to your instructions.

The interesting thing is that, as a man who is charged with the responsibility of ensuring outright discipline in the family, you can teach your children to obey instructions. However, before getting into the details as to how you can teach your children to be obedient, it is necessary to take a look at the possible reason why your child refused to obey simple instructions.

It is natural, that when your child was given birth to, your role primarily was that of a caregiver. You were at the child’s beck and call. All he had to do was whimper, and you came running, anxious to cater to his every need.

However, after several months of such kind of treatment, it is natural that such a child will begin to exhibit attitudes as though he is the master of the house and his parents the servants who are there to do his bidding.

Research has shown that at age two, the child would have become aware of a harsh reality: his little “autocracy” has crumbled. His parents no longer follow his orders; they expect him to follow theirs.

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This is a rude awakening for children! Some respond by throwing tantrums. Others test their parents’ authority by refusing to obey. At this point in time, the man would have to assume a new role which is that of an authority figure who gives clear direction as to what is expected of the child.

In taming a child to be obedient, you are expected to do the following:

1. Take the lead: It is a natural position that the child may not take you seriously as a leader, except he sees that you have been taking the lead. In other words, it is necessary for the man to assert his authority so as to drive home a point. Regrettably, and in recent times, some experts have made the word ‘authority’ sound harsh.

2. Introduce discipline: Definition wise, discipline can be referred to as a training that produces obedience or self-control, often in the form of rules and punishments if these are broken. Discipline should however not be unreasonable or abusive. On the other hand, it should not be vague or inconsequential, leaving the child with no incentive to change.

3. Be clear: In a bid to foster discipline, it is necessary to ensure clarity while dishing out instruction (s). For instance, some merely ask for their child’s obedience. (“I would like you to clean up your room — OK?”). It is imperative to state that giving clear direction in the form of statements should not be pushed aside.

4. Take a decisive action: Standing by one’s decision is very important in this case. Let your “No” be “No”, and present a united front with your spouse. Where a decision has been made on the consequence for disobedience, stick to it and do not get involved in negotiations or endlessly discuss why you made a decision.

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5. Show love: It is necessary to mention, that the family is neither a democracy nor a dictatorship. Rather, it is a God-given arrangement in which children can be lovingly guided toward responsible adulthood. As part of that process, discipline will teach your child to obey and help him feel secure in your love.

6. Negative behaviour: The moment your child begins to exhibit tendencies of a negative behaviour like hitting you at the back, bend down to his height and look at him in the eye. The intention is not to get the child intimidated, but to take you very seriously.

7. Warning: Here, it is important to dish out constant warnings to a child who is found to be involved in acts that are not acceptable. With this, he or she now knows what behaviour you want him or her to stop and if he or she continues to do it, there will be consequences.

If the child exhibits the same behaviour again, pick him up, or take his arm and guide him to the place where punishment is to be served. For kids that are younger, a corner or step is ideal. In the case of school-age children, a chair or room is a better idea.

Do not cultivate the idea of sending the child to his bedroom. This is because that is where he sleeps, relaxes, and plays with his toys.  That same room should not be utilised as a relaxation place and a place for serving punishment. It is better to try a guest room or office or any room that the child has no interest in.

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