Don’t panic! The fact that your child just threw a temper tantrum in the middle of the store is simply an invitation to train. Like anything obedience must be learned and practiced. As I am challenged with parenting a two-year old, I am reminded that children need instruction. And I am blessed to be able to teach both of my sons the path to life.
As I am learning what it means to parent, I am seeing the need for first time obedience. Not because I am a tyrant of a mother who wishes to be obeyed, but because God’s word commands it. God actually speaks to children when he says, “Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1). On the foundation of God’s word, I can expect obedience.
I have, however, found that obedience does not come naturally. Obedience without discussion, disgust, and delay is something that is taught. It is something that must be practiced. Here are a few things that have helped me.
- Practice at home. Discipline must be enforced in the home, or the child will not behave well in public.
- Be intentional. (especially with little ones) Set aside 30 minutes to practice obedience without discussion, disgust, or delay. Practice having your child come, or sit still, or put toys away. Be sure to praise, praise, praise when they obey.
- Plan an outing to practice obedience. Go to the store with the simple intention of training. This will teach your child that they cannot get away with disobedience when outside of the home.