7 Golden Rules to Get Your Children to Obey You

Many parents are desperate to get children their children to obey, but love and affection are more effective than orders and fear.
7 Golden Rules to Get Your Children to Obey You

Last update: 08 June, 2022

There are times when parents throw their hands in the air because they don’t know how to get their children to obey. This can undoubtedly be a great source of frustration for parents.

Parents often seek help from professionals to give them guidelines or advice about how to get their children to obey and to pay heed to the orders they give them. But the reality is that children don’t need orders to obey, they just need to understand and feel valued.

The task of administering discipline in the home can be frustrating and even unpleasant, but it’s a crucial element of parenting. It’s from 18 to 24 months when children begin to recognize, understand, and respect the authority of parents, as long as they know how to do it without their little ones feeling bad at any time.

Getting children to obey is achieved with wisdom, discernment, and creativity. You must also administer discipline in an atmosphere of love and great care. The key is that children need to understand that all behaviors have consequences, both negative and positive. They must understand that different types of behaviors produce different results. Some are nice and some aren’t so nice.

A pre-teen girl at a party.

1. Use the time-outs to be by their side

Time-outs don’t consist of leaving your child alone in a room to think about their actions. If you use time-outs in this way, you’ll only make your child feel abandoned and like their feelings aren’t important. When your child doesn’t obey you, you can use time-outs as a consequence, but you must be by their side so that they understand what their negative behavior has been, what’s appropriate, what the consequence will be, and also, you must guide them to calm down in case it’s necessary.

2. Model the behavior you want to see in your children

It’s very important that you help them by modeling the behavior you want them to learn. If you want your child to be nicer, you have to be nicer. If you want your child not to be aggressive with their sibling, then you need to not be aggressive with them, with others, or with yourself.

3. Recognize good behaviors

Recognizing good behaviors is a way of giving importance to their good behaviors, so children will feel that what they do well is being valued and they will tend to behave better on future occasions.

I don’t mean to reward him (something that promotes selfishness if it is offered in excess), but a good way to do this is to reward him with positive family experiences when he has many good behaviors done. You can establish a points system, or have your child fill a glass jar with small marbles… when the jar is full, they can choose the activity to do as a family, such as going to the beach or going out to the park to eat ice cream.

A child who's very angry at school.

4. Ask yourself if there’s something wrong

It’s possible that if your child behaves too disobediently, it’s because there is something wrong and they’re trying to make you see it. Perhaps you should assess if they’re well-fed, if they’ve had enough rest, if their schedule is too stressful, if a situation’s occurring in the family that’s causing them emotional discomfort, etc That way, you can think about what’s happening and how to solve it. It’s also necessary to realize if little ones have any emotional conflicts that are worth resolving before expecting them to blindly obey your orders. When they’re emotionally well, their behavior can improve dramatically.

5. Tell them what you expect from them

Many times, children are disobedient (without them knowing that they’re being disobedient) simply because they don’t know exactly what’s expected of them. Children need information about their behavior and what’s okay and what isn’t.

If there’s something they’re not doing correctly, you should make it clear to them what the correct attitude is and the negative consequences they’ll have to face if they don’t comply (and the positive consequences if they do). On many occasions, natural consequences are also a good way for them to learn what’s best for them, and, on the basis of this experience, perhaps they’ll obey the next time.

6. Find time and tend to them

Find a time, about 20 minutes, to dedicate yourself entirely to your child; Let’s call it “positive attention.” During that time they’re playing, or even better, while involving yourself in their play, interact, ask questions, and take a serious interest in what they’re doing. When a child plays, they do it very seriously. Share the feeling of being involved, as if drawn by magic or fantasy. It’s not hard if you let yourself go…

Where does this lead? To the second part of the plan…

7. Positive attention when fulfilling their duties

Now, let’s apply that same attention when they’re obeying an order or following instructions. Don’t make them feel like you’re overseeing or supervising, on the contrary, make them feel that you value their effort and dedication in doing things the best they can.

Always encouraging them to do better, to introduce variants, to be creative, within the limits imposed by the task. Orders or tasks are forgers of values; they can’t be purely capricious or meaningless elements on your part. They must reflect and demonstrate the support that family members owe each other, and in this sense, fulfilling them well is the most important and valuable aspect.

In that sense, encourage them. And, at certain points during the day, emphasize those orders that they don’t often obey or that they don’t like, but that are part of what they must do for their own good. For example, putting away their shoes, organizing school supplies, picking up discarded clothes, putting toys in their place. When they do these things, congratulate them and recognize their hard work.

Don’t dismiss these actions. Basically, be realistic with your expectations and recognize any degree of improvement. What you believe to be small can have an enormous dimension for your child.

Introduce small favors into the routine and thank them profusely. They must feel that everything they do is important and positively contributes to the dynamics of the home.

At the same time, remember to give orders with a firm and direct tone. No ambiguity or bias.

Transfer these techniques to public spaces

According to César Soutullo Esperón, a professor of children’s behavioral disorders:

  • Give positive attention and praise good behavior.
  • Praise them when they do well.
  • Give effective orders.
  • Reward them with points and use time-outs when necessary.

Your child must know or have a reference to the itinerary that they have to accompany us on our errands. Establish a reward for good behavior and use time-outs if necessary, leading them to quiet spaces to calm down and reflect.

And of course, don’t forget to go out with things that can entertain them , such as coloring books and crayons.

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