O is for Obedience: Teaching Children to Accept Authority
Don’t we all want children who will obey our commands and accept our authority as adults? Well.. That is what we talked about today. O is for Obedience: Why you should listen to your parents and teaching children to accept authority.
There is a part of me that rejoices every time my children back talk and then… there is the mom in me. I know that my children should always listen to me no matter what but, the truth is they need to get away too. It builds their confidence and helps them in exploring their world. Did you know that? I am not a very strict parent. My husband isn’t either. We do have limits for our children though and those are the lines we make sure our kids don’t cross.
Children need boundaries. They need to know what they are allowed to do and what is a strict NO. We are all different in our parenting styles and in how we raise our kids. Many parents hover all over their kids making sure that they are always doing the best thing. There are those who don’t want to be so strict and think the kids will find their way. Then there are the ‘Pendulum’ parents who talk about how their kids should behave and tell them so without carrying out the necessary enforcement needed to make sure they don’t cross the boundaries. We all want to be perfect parents but how exactly do you get a child to obey you?
My kids aren’t perfect in the obedience department. They do listen to us most of the times and although they may not clean their room when I want them to… but for a 7 year old, 3 year old and an 18 month old, I think they are quite well behaved kids. When I was thinking about what I wanted my kids to learn from the word Obedience, I had to take note of what obedience for their age meant.
For an 18 month old, it means to be able to understand the word NO and to leave things in their order. Although my house is quite baby proofed, I have many things at her level that she should leave alone. For example, I have books in a shelf at her level… the kids toy shelves and cupboards are all at her level, she is frequenting the kitchen too. Our living room is her favorite place! I have noticed my daughter will leave alone our stuff, like the books and our cupboards, but she knows what things she is allowed to mess up with. She will go in the play room and pull out all the drawers and dump on the floor. She may go in the kitchen and I have a few drawers there with just tupperware and disposables. She will carry those away. She will mess with everything that she knows is her department, actually.
My three year older is quite mature for her age. From her, I only want that she accepts authority. I want her to remember that she cannot wail in the middle of a mall because she didn’t get her way. (She does that! ) Thankfully, she isn’t the messy kind and a perfect big sister. It is possibly because she became a big sister quite early and has been entrusted with watching over the little one all the time. She literally minds her sister while mommy is busy. She will entertain her and at times feed her if the occasion calls too.
My 7 year old is the big brother. He is reliable in that I trust him to mind the girls and keep them safe and happily entertained. I have trusted him with his siblings from quite a young age actually and he has been my blessing when I was pregnant with my third daughter. Ofcourse, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t get away with back talking and nuisance too. He likes to think ‘he can’.
While I was working on the word Obedience, it made me really ponder over my parenting style and what I really wanted to teach my kids from this word. I had to take out a list of things where I was failing as a parent. For all of that, I found that my kids needed to learn that they have to accept authority. Mommy and Daddy aren’t their age. They may be their best friends laughing and joking around all the time but when they say NO it means No. They shouldn’t always have to explain why or need be questioned. For this reason, I had to sit them down and talk to them first and then come up with a way to solve this problem from the roots.
We first talked about authority and to explain it clearly I told them what my father had told me about it: When you are on a ship, there has to be one person in command. That is the captain of the ship. Not everyone can come and steer the ship. Not everyone know where they should be going to reach their destination. It is the same with life. There has to be someone who has experience, wisdom and a plan to where life should go. If you look at a person’s life then that would be his parents. They know better. They care about the person (that means they are his well-wishers) and they will use their wisdom, knowledge and experience to help him. In a country, it is the King or president who is the captain. He can best provide for you. He has to have rules so that everyone is safe and happy. To succeed in this world, you need God. He is the Supreme Authority and your best of best well-wishers who can help you. So in that order, every person needs to be obedient to his parents, his country and God. In our case, we have the Prophet (PBUH) who is the messenger of God who showed us by his ways how we can succeed in this world and the hereafter. We have the Quran (the book of God) that shows us how we can be obedient to God.
I think even my three year old understood this too. To add a little fun to this talk, we played the game ‘Mommy May I’. It is a simple game which I am sure many will be familiar with. I make a request to which the kids must say ‘Mommy May I’ before they carry it out. Next they make a request to which they ask the same question . If I say yes, they do it. If I don’t, they stop immediately. If they don’t, then they will have to do whatever I say as a consequence like standing on one feet or cleaning the windows! We had lots of giggles and fun with this Even my 18 month old enjoyed it.
Since my son is always taking time to carry out whatever I tell him to we talked about that too. We came up with a game for this too. From now on, every time I want him to do something, I am going to tell him and write the time on the blackboard. We are going to see how soon he has carried out my request. So far, this has been working the past two days!! I tell him and then call out the time that I am noting down and he runs to finish it! Ofcourse, I give him some positive attention and praise afterwards.
What do you think? How do you teach your children about authority? Tell me in the comments.
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For those of you who have been following these posts and know that I have had some technical difficulties, I wanted to add that I am trying to bring these posts live as they happen to prevent backlog. The other posts will be added as soon as I retrieve them Thanks for supporting me! JazakAllah!!