I fully expect my children to obey me. Does that word sound archaic? Oppressive?
That’s fine. I’ll pay the therapy bills…maybe.
Actually, I probably won’t. Because half of my kids are already adults and they’re pretty amazing people. They understand authority. They respect it. They all hold jobs. Heck, one is in the US Army. He has ZERO opinions that matter right now. No therapy yet…
IMHO, anyone allowing a young child to think they have any decision-making power is setting them up for a very rude awakening when they get out into the real world. It’ll be a long time until someone actually cares what their opinion is. The validity of their opinion has to be earned.
Back to the subject at hand.
Getting your kids to obey is achieved in a couple ways. They have to know who is in charge and they have to understand that it’s not them.
In my house, my husband and I are in charge. Period. Our kids know this and, quite frankly, I think they’re relieved. They know exactly where they stand and what aspects of their world they can influence. And when they’re little, that’s not very many!
When they are young, say under the age of 8, I decide what they eat, how much they eat and where and when they eat it. I decide what they wear when we leave the house. I teach them how to conduct themselves in public. Why? Because it’s my responsibility to teach them good habits. It’s also my responsibility to order their worlds. Kids with no set rules and boundaries… no order, have very little sense of stability to depend upon.
Here’s where I rant, just a teeny bit.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it many times more… children need sleep. Everybody needs sleep. Don’t you? Kids without a set schedule for sleeping are often lacking in other boundaries as well. They fall asleep wherever they drop. I’m telling you now, it’s a bad plan. Kids need 12 hours of sleep. But you have to train them.
I give my kids 100% of me from when they wake up until I put them to bed. And, yes, I put them to bed. Early. Parents who say, “my kids just don’t seem to need as much sleep as other kids…” are kidding themselves. Absolute malarkey. That’s a great word, isn’t it? Malarkey. Rolls off the tongue…
Ok. I’ll continue.
All kids are in an endless stage of developmental growth. Physically as well as emotionally. Think of everything their little bodies go through from birth to age five. At no other point in our lives are we learning as much or growing and developing as much as during those first years. Everything from crawling to walking to talking and that doesn’t even include the ongoing internal growth. Do you remember learning how to color? Make a puzzle? Hold a pencil? A spoon? It’s exhausting!
Please put them to bed. Let them look at books, sing to themselves, live in their imaginations! And let them rest their little bodies. They will sleep because it is what they should be doing, and what is best for them. Please don’t wait until they are four because, by then, they’ve already been trained…and so have you.
Make bed a place they look forward to going to. Make it cozy. Then leave them to their thoughts and imaginations. Put a glass of water on their nightstand. That way they don’t need to get up, they don’t need you… and you can leave. But you have to leave.
Believe me, they’ll find you in the morning. And they will be rested and so will you. Everybody else in their worlds will thank you.