Obeying First Request
How do we teach our children to obey our first request and why is this important? Many parents struggle with getting their children to respond to their request and once we allow this behavior to continue, then the power struggle really begins. At first, as you read this you might think that it sounds like I’m supporting the idea of parents being tyrants. Actually, what I’m supporting is the idea that when we allow our children the option of not obeying our first request, we are doing them a great disservice.
Parents, if your goals are like my goals, they include the idea of teaching my children to respect authority, cope with hard things, learn to succeed and find the joy in meeting expectations. All of these skills serve to help our children to be more happy and to continue on their journey to self mastery. If our children do not obey our first request, there is only one person or couple to blame...US. Parents, it is due to our inconsistency, our lack of organization and our lack of properly informing our children that we struggle with this issue. Please allow me to give you a few ideas to help your children learn how to obey “First Request” so that they can have the confidence and the self respect that they need to be happy.
Before we approach our children, mom and dad or parent, has to come together and make sure they are on the “same page.” This will not work if there is division between parents, especially if these parents are living in the same home. What needs to be decided is what will be the consequences when our children do not obey our first request. There DOES NOT need to be a “warning,” “first offense,” and “final offense.” There should be only one consequence and that is the consequence EVERY SINGLE TIME. Once that is agreed upon (I recommend extra chores, privileges being taken away, etc.), then it’s time to sit down with our children and the conversation can go something like this:
“Kids, we sure love you. We are so proud of all the good things that you do. You are helpful, you are kind and we are really so proud of who you are. Your mom and I need to help you become better at something and that is obeying our first request. It is important that you are respectful and obedient when your mom and I ask you to do something. Here’s what we expect: when your mother or I ask you to do something, we want you to answer us with ‘Yes Ma’am’ or ‘Yes Sir,’ then we want you to stop what you are doing and complete what we have asked you to do. We will at times, try to be sensitive to what you are doing and might ask you to complete something within a certain period of time, but at other times, if we do not specify a time period, that means we expect you to do it immediately. Let’s practice right now.” (roll play a couple of times). “Great, I knew you all could do this. Now, I hope that we never have to give you the consequence for not obeying this request, but if you do choose to ignore our request, then this is going to be the consequence every single time. Do you understand what we are asking of you? Do you have any questions? Great. Your Mom and I are excited to watch you be successful in obeying our first request.”
I realize that you will decide how you will introduce this concept and how you want your children to respond, but please be as specific as possible so that your children know exactly what is expected of them. As you are consistent, your family will have more peace, more love and more time to have fun. Try it and see.
Have a great month,