When I was a son to my father, tender and the only son
in the sight of my mother, then he taught me and said to me, "Let your
heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments and live;
- Proverbs 4:3-4
Is It Too Late to Begin Now?
Not knowing any better, I didn't start early with my oldest three children.
Despite some good instincts, I had nothing to give me further direction or
confidence. As the second youngest in my family, I had missed the opportunity to
watch the training of my siblings. Growing up, I rarely baby-sat and wasn�t
around little children very often, so when I had my own children, I was clueless
about raising them. I did read some popular Christian parenting books, but
didn't find them very helpful, particularly with younger children. Most of them
seemed to be aimed at children who were already school-aged. Ones you are
supposedly able to �reason� with. So I struggled along in frustration for
the first several years. Only when my first three children were about two, four,
and six, did I commence parenting the way I do now. By those ages the
"starting early" window of opportunity has passed. By age two, you are
The training involved in starting later is not all that different from that
employed in starting early, except that by this age your child will need a lot
more convincing before he gives up the ruling power he�s been allowed since
birth. The same techniques of consistency, outlasting, ambushing, and so on, can
be used with these older children, but the parents will have to be a lot more
diligent in applying them. Rather than starting from scratch with an unspoiled
child, you will have to go through a challenging period of turning your child
around. The good news is that it is still possible to do, and can often be done
in a relatively short period of time.
He is on the path of life who heeds instruction, but he
who forsakes reproof goes astray.
- Proverbs 10:17
How Long Will This Take?
Everybody asks the question, "How long it will take to see results?"
�How long before my rampaging toddler or pre-schooler regains the pleasant
disposition he had as a baby and I can start enjoying him again?� Usually, it
doesn't take long at all - a few hours to a few days to see a big change, then a
few months to solidify this change - but with this proviso: You must be
consistent and diligent. You must adhere fanatically to this checklist:
1. Watch your child closely, keeping him with you virtually one hundred percent
of the time (Tomato Staking).
2. Correct him thoroughly each and every time he misbehaves, catching little
things before they escalate into big things, and outlasting until your will wins
Observe the above and you�ll have a new family in a few months, even if you
are starting late.
Heed instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it.
- Proverbs 8:33
Turning Over a New Leaf
If you decide you want to try parenting the way I recommend in this book, please
quit your present methods and undertake this with your whole heart. Don't
confuse your child by picking and choosing between different and conflicting
parenting styles or by changing methods completely every few weeks when you
don�t get instant perfection. Expect it to take a certain amount of time for
both you and your child to learn new habits. Once you get the hang of it, and
your child knows what to expect from you, he will respond very quickly.
The first few days will likely be the most challenging. Your child will surely
put up some serious resistance and since this approach will be new to you, your
lack of confidence may encourage him to resist even more. Don�t give up.
Commit yourself to wholeheartedly applying Tomato Staking and teaching prompt
obedience for at least three months. At the end of that time, sit down and take
stock. Are things noticeably better? Has the need for discipline been greatly
reduced? Are you enjoying your child more? If your child is still in the toddler
or pre-school age range, you should have almost no need for serious discipline
by the end of the third month. Older children may have a few lingering problems
that will need continued vigilance for some time, but by the end of three months
you should find yourself mostly just giving instructions, teaching, reminding,
and only very occasionally disciplining with more than a simple verbal rebuke.
If good things are happening, let them encourage you to go on.
For school aged children, who have well established bad habits and no real
respect for their parents, it will take longer to reach their hearts and turn
them around, but be assured that it can and will happen as long as you
persevere. Your efforts will be rewarded if you remain steadfast in doing what
is best for your child in God�s eyes. Just do what you would do with a younger
child: Keep them with you, then see that they do exactly what you tell them to
do, without delay and with a good attitude. Instruct and correct as needed. Love
Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching;
persevere in these things; for as you do this you will insure salvation both for
yourself and for those who hear you.
- I Timothy 4:16
How We Began
We already had three young children, ages two, four and six, when we decided
to follow the advice of some godly parents we knew and seriously undertake to
train our children according to the good old-fashioned �Say What You Mean and
Mean What You Say� philosophy. I did most of the training while my husband was
at work. I started with all of our children simultaneously, but focused mostly
on the two-year-old in the beginning, whose first �outlasting� session I
described in the previous chapter.
I began watching him much more closely than I had ever watched him in the past.
Each time I told him to do something, I worked to make sure he did it promptly,
and without a bad attitude. I disciplined him as needed toward this purpose.
It wasn�t easy for me. I had to be determined to be extremely consistent
rather than sort of consistent. I had to be committed to making an issue out of
everything he resisted me in, large or small. I had to make sure that when each
conflict was over, I�d won, and that I'd won decidedly. But my efforts paid
off. I only had one or two really tough sessions with him in the first few weeks
and after that he seemed to miraculously accept my position of authority over
him, and turned back into the cheerful cooperative child he�d been at age one.
Perhaps it was a relief to him to have someone else he trusted be responsible
for guiding him through life once again, rather than having to assume the
pressure of running his whole life himself.
As I was retraining the two year old, the older two children were watching. When
they saw that I was serious about their little brother, they were considerably
more reluctant to test me themselves. When they did test, they gave in sooner
than they might have without having already seen my determined wins over their
sibling. The hardest part in all of it, was retraining myself to watch and
consistently correct every time a correction was needed. But although that took
determination and work, it was far easier than the constant power struggles that
had characterized our relationship previously.
Now therefore, my sons, listen to me, and pay attention
to the words of my mouth.
- Proverbs 7:24
In the last chapter I gave a few examples of things your baby or one-year-old
should be able to learn. Here is a general list of things that any toddler can
and should be expected to do, if he's been taught to obey. This list is not to
be seen as a list of �tasks� to train for, but rather as opportunities to
teach obedience. If you can not depend on your child to do these and similar
things regularly, with a cooperative spirit, then use these occasions to turn
him around, and teach obedience and respect for you. In short, your toddler
should obediently do anything you request as long as he is capable of doing it.
That's obedience and that's really the only thing you have to teach him at this
Your toddler should:
- Understand that tantrums are absolutely forbidden.
- Come without hesitation when you call him.
- Stay near you when you tell him to.
- Hold your hand upon request, without pulling or letting go.
- Say or indicate, "Yes, mom", when you ask him to do something.
- Perform your requests without whining, crying, or pouting.
- Not misbehave in the car or in public.
- Remain quiet when you tell him to, or when you hold a finger up to your lips.
- Sit quietly next to you for as long as you want him to, without being bribed
- Remain seated at the table until given permission to leave.
Don't expect your child to remember a long list of rules. Just expect him to
obey promptly whenever you give him a simple direction. Don't hesitate to raise
your standards and expectations. If your child disrupts church, acts like a
terror in the store, can�t be taken to a restaurant, or drives you crazy all
day at home, your expectations of him are probably far too low. Believe in your
child's abilities and possibilities and start training accordingly.
A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish man
despises his mother.
- Proverbs 15:20
"All you have to remember is�"
I am not going to give a list of training opportunities for the next age bracket
� older pre-schoolers up through the grade school ages. I think by that time
it has become obvious to all but the most imperceptive of parents, where their
individual child needs work. When in doubt, narrow it down to this: Your child
can and should be expected to do anything you ask him to do, as long as he is
capable of doing it.
Recently our family journeyed to Colorado and somehow I got arm-twisted into
whitewater rafting with the whole gang. Truthfully, I'd been dreading this event
for weeks and was relieved to know that my adult niece was also having
apprehensions. So there we were, standing on the riverbank waiting to climb into
our assigned death traps, er, I mean, rafts. As we fretted over the cold and wet
and the chances that our children might be tossed out of the raft and drowned,
my nineteen-year-old son sidled up to us and set us both at ease. He winked,
gave me a reassuring pat on the back, and said, "Mom, all you have to
remember is the last thing the guide said to us: 'Pay attention to me and do
what I tell you.'"
There it is in a nutshell - exactly what I've been telling hundreds of parents.
You need not focus on complex rules or theories, or on training young children
to perform a mountain of different tasks. Just train them to obey you. Train
them to pay attention to you and do what you say. That's all there is to it!
Just like the white water rafting guide said!
Be careful to listen to all these words which I command
you, in order that it may be well with you and your sons after you forever, for
you will be doing what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God.
- Deuteronomy 12:28
Aim at the Heart
Although I keep directing you to work on obedience, the real goal is a godly
heart. You can never forget the heart, whether with a younger child or an older
one. It must be the one thing you are always keeping your eye on. Obedience is
just an easy straightforward key to reaching the heart and to changing it.
Now in order to reach the heart, we must teach ourselves to see the hearts of
our children. Because the outside reflects the inside, we can often detect what
is going on inside by watching the outside. Young children are usually open and
honest with their feelings and, for example, can not be cheerful on the outside
unless they are truly happy inside. Older children may make more of an effort to
disguise what�s going on inside, but an observant parent will be able to see
it anyway. So let the outward signs of a wrong attitude be your signal that your
child requires correction. If, when you make a request of your child, you see
anything other than prompt, pleasant obedience, stop and fix it. In doing so you
will be taking great strides toward producing a godly child inside, not just
creating the appearance of godliness on the outside.
And you shall love the LORD your God with all your
heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
- Deuteronomy 6:5
I have what I call "Mommy Radar". It goes off whenever I sense
something needing correction. I'm not sure how I acquired Mommy Radar, but I
suspect I've had it all along and just didn't know. What I thought was
irritability was perhaps at times really the beginnings of Mommy Radar or Mommy
Radar being ignored.
You see, it used to annoy me when my children whined, complained, or argued with
me. It frustrated me when I had to request something multiple times before
they'd do it, and it upset me even more when they would do it, but do it
grudgingly. Slow obedience bothered me too, and sneakiness, and laziness, and so
on. Because I was new in my parenting career, I thought that all these things
that annoyed me were "normal" for children to do. I thought I needed
to learn to somehow tolerate all of these until they �grew out of it�.
Since then I've wised up. Now I know they won�t grow out of it if I don�t
put some effort into training it out of them. If I want better behavior I�d
better do something to make it happen. So now if I find some behavior or
attitude in my child annoying (my Mommy Radar going off), I recognize it as a
sign that my child needs training. I welcome my Mommy Radar signals. They tell
me to stop what I'm doing and promptly correct my child before these little
behaviors escalate into bigger, more serious ones they will never �grow out
Instead of focusing exclusively on the big stuff, learn to develop Mommy Radar,
becoming alert to all the subtle signs of a wrong spirit within your child.
Watch the countenance of your children and notice when they won't look you in
the eye, or when they smirk or pout. Notice that little stomp of the foot or
their defiant body language when they pull away from you. Notice and act upon it
when your Mommy Radar first alerts you. A stern word of caution, such as,
"Take that look off your face," or "Don't roll your eyes at me
like that," will avert later, more severe problems. If a firmer correction
is needed, like a swat on the bottom, be prepared, and give it. Nothing should
evade your radar because what it is picking up is your child's heart, reflected
on the outside. If you Tomato Stake your child at this point, and correct him,
you will be addressing his heart. And that's your chief goal.
The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of
men; From His dwelling place He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth.
- Psalms 33:13-14
Our Oldest Child
Our six-year-old was typical of a "starting late" child. In the past
he had always been fairly compliant, but I often had to �talk him into�
obeying. He whined all the time and was very sluggish and lazy about how and
when he�d get around to obeying. Yet he never threw fits or defied me
directly, so I wasn�t quite sure how to get tough with him. Should I spank him
or not, for these many seemingly minor offenses?
I finally decided I had to do something before I woke up one morning and he was
six feet tall and still grumbling and whining and feeling sorry for himself. I
decided to make him respond correctly, cheerfully, and quickly every time I
asked him to do something. Since everything else I�d tried had failed, I
decided that when he didn't respond the way he should, I would have to spank,
even if the issue seemed minor.
It was tough. He gave me about a dozen occasions to spank him the first morning
of the "Big Change". Finally, about noon, he yelled at me that he
�was going to go live with Aunt Jan�! I felt devastated. I felt heartbroken.
I was shaken with uncertainty and doubt. Was I doing the right thing? Was I
expecting too much? Was my child going to hate me forever? Should I go back to
the low standards and failing methods I had been using before?
Well, I just couldn�t quit. I had to listen to what my spirit was telling me
and not relent. I had to persevere, at least this once. So I spanked him again
and informed him that he'd better stick with me because his aunt �would not
have put up with half� of what I had been putting up with! I admit that I
raised my voice, which is not ideal. But I also gave him the firm impression
that I was not backing down, that he was going to obey me and treat me with
respect me "or else".
After I got compliance, and things settled down a bit, I called our Christian
mentors and with a shaking voice asked if I'd done the right thing. They said,
"Well, if you got him that upset, you must have made an impression on him.
Keep it up."
Apparently I did make a deep and good impression. He improved dramatically after
that morning. Not only did he start obeying quickly and without whining, but he
also became a happier child overall. From that noontime confrontation
henceforth, I hardly ever had to spank him again. Now that he is an adult he
always laughs when I tell that story. He says that although he doesn�t
remember the incident at all, it must be the only time he ever really lost his
temper. How wonderful to have an adult son who hasn't lost his temper since he
was six year old! I have no regrets!
Apply your heart to discipline, and your ears to words
- Proverbs 23:12
Our Second Oldest
Our second oldest was completely different from the other two children I�ve
already described. She had been an independent, hyperactive, rambunctious
handful ever since she began walking at the early age of nine months. I used to
pray that she would "turn three" so I could be finished with the
"terrible twos." But the threes arrived and they were as frustrating
for me as the twos! Finally, she was four and a little improved, but not a lot.
Clever and calculating, she knew how to get away with things. In particular, she
knew how to discreetly deceive Mom and Dad.
At first, when she saw us disciplining her two siblings, she became outwardly
meek and obedient herself. She was smart enough not to try the same things that
were getting them all in trouble. But then we observed a few troubling things
about her apparent obedience.
One night I took her up to her room to prepare for bed. I wanted her help in
tidying up her room first, so I handed her a book and told her to put it away on
the bookshelf downstairs. She scurried off and came right back. Then I asked her
to put her shoes in the mudroom closet; again she quickly ran off to do what I
said. So when she came back, I tucked her into bed and kissed her good night
with a little hug and a "job well done."
Returning downstairs, I noticed the book, not on the shelf, but on the fireplace
hearth next to the shelf. I thought perhaps she just misunderstood or forgot
exactly what I'd told her. Then I noticed the shoes, setting neatly outside the
closet door, not inside. That�s when it struck me that she had not been
obeying me with her whole heart. She had tried to get away with something -- to
only partially comply with my requests. She had intentionally misplaced those
items in a way that she thought would not get her into trouble. Well
�almost� obeying is not obeying at all. I hated to do it, but I woke her up,
spanked her, told her flatly that she had disobeyed, and I made her
"fix" each one of her little "mistakes."
She was remorsefully and I assumed she'd gotten the message until a few weeks
later when she tried a similar ploy on Dad. Dad had decided that when he called,
his children should come just as he had been trained to come as a child. They
were to say, "Coming", and come immediately.
Since they were young, he decided to have them practice a few times first,
before instituting this new policy. He gathered them together in the kitchen and
carefully explained what he wanted. Then he sent them all to the living room to
await his call. Upon hearing Dad's summons, the oldest obeyed perfectly. The
youngest was next and also responded perfectly. But when it was her turn, our
second oldest child said, "Come" instead of "Coming". Dad
explained again that he wanted to hear, "Coming" and had them all try
again. They all got it exactly right except again, our four-year-old daughter.
This time she said, "I come." Dad explained it again. The next time
she said, "I'm coming". She couldn't seem to get it right.
Finally, both Dad and I caught on to her game. She was only being rebellious and
sneaky. She knew exactly what we wanted, was very capable of doing it, yet was
determined not to. Too smart to risk outright defiance, she had devised a more
subtle form of disobedience.
So Dad got out the paddle. He did not get angry. He simply determined to correct
the problem. He spanked her (one firm swat on the posterior, over her clothes),
and then told her to try again. It took her six more tries (and six swats with
the paddle) before she finally decided to obey and say, "Coming." Dad
made her practice a couple more times just for good measure. And guess what? She
NEVER defied us like that again! In fact she is extremely honest to this day,
and cannot be outdone in zealousness to do the right thing. From that day forth,
although still lively and enthusiastic, she became an absolute pleasure to live
A man who loves wisdom makes his father glad...
- Proverbs 29:3)
What To Avoid
As you work to turn your toddlers and older children around, be prepared for
difficulties to arise. The following is an enumeration of some
"Don'ts" of effective childrearing. Avoiding these will be essential
to your success.
1. Don�t �distract� your child when you should be confronting him and
disciplining him. It�s alright to distract a little baby at times, rather than
train, but it is never okay to distract a toddler. When a toddler resists
obeying you, "make an issue of it" until he submits, nicely and
completely. If you distract him or move the forbidden object out of reach, you
have taught him nothing - certainly not self-control. Once your child has
complied, you can "redirect" his attention elsewhere as needed, but
always make sure he has submitted to you completely first. Follow this one rule
and you'll be ninety-nine percent of the way there with a little one.
2. Don�t do the modern "Time outs", that are conceived as cooling
off periods that will miraculously return children to saintliness -- without
discipline. They are misguided and unproductive. The heart is never altered by
simply by removing a child from temptation and placing him in a playpen or on a
chair for one minute per year of age. If a child needs to �cool down�, it is
far better to stand him a corner facing the wall where he will be a bit
uncomfortable. Keep him there, for as long as it takes to motivate him to calm
down and control himself.
3. Don�t ever send your child to his room as a punishment, leaving him alone
to stew over his plight, feel sorry for himself, grow bitter toward this
perceived injustice, or find other ways to ingeniously defy Mom. Instead, sit
him right next to you where you can Tomato Stake tightly and effectively.
4. Don't remove privileges as a punishment to correct or motivate a child. Young
children rarely relate well to anything but immediate correction. Delayed
corrections and after-the-fact punishments just leave them feeling bitter or
apathetic. After all, they�ve already lost their privileges anyway, why
repent? Rather than removing a specific privilege, come up with a closely
related logical consequence, if you feel it will be effective and motivating.
For example I might say, "Just now, you disobeyed me and rode your bike
into the street. That is extremely dangerous. Because you did not obey me, you
must come inside now." That is a lot different and works a lot better than
saying, �No biking for the next two weeks�, then allowing him to bike again
two weeks later whether he is repentant or not.
5. Don't issue warnings. Do not count to ten or to three or ever to two. If my
child does not respond to my initial verbal instruction, I spank. It is quick,
simple, and easily understood. No psychological mind games, no manipulation, no
guilt. And for Mom, there's no anger, frustration, or fatigue.
6. Don�t "reason" with a child to persuade him to obey. If I want to
discuss my child�s misbehavior, I do it after he has obeyed, not in order to
make him obey. Too much explaining only encourages whining, arguing, and
back-talking, leading to further rebellion and pride. Explain things, age
appropriately, only after your child has shown a prompt willingness to obey
without an explanation. A friend's husband recently observed that, "This is
the way God teaches. He often doesn't explain until we obey. Then, He may or may
not explain why He required what He asked us to do." Good point!
7. Don't give children alternative choices to avoid a conflict. It is better to
welcome a conflict and teach obedience, than to defer it until another day � a
day that will surely come. The longer you wait, the more your child senses his
power over you, and the harder the battle will be when you have to face it. Give
choices only when your child is dutifully obedient on a continual basis.
8. Don't become too dependent upon a "schedule". Parents who are
highly organized are often surprised when their usually well-behaved child
suddenly loses control when forced from his accustomed routine. Why does this
happen? Often it's because the child hasn't been taught to obey, but rather to
conform to a strict schedule instead. He's grown accustomed to a rigid pattern
of living and has even come to expect it as his "right." So when he
misses his nap or his favorite afternoon snack, he throws a fit, demanding his
"right" back, instead of respecting and obeying his mom. Order is a
godly virtue, but be sure you are teaching flexibility as well. Vary your
routine occasionally to achieve reliance on you, not a schedule. Obedience must
always come first!
9. Don�t employ mind games to shame or manipulate a child into obeying. Such
manipulation will only create a child who is a manipulative, insecure,
passive-aggressive, angry, or self-centered adult. Many popular psychology-based
techniques being used today are incredibly damaging to children by encouraging
wrong thought patterns and habits. If it's wrong to manipulate other adults,
don't teach a child to manipulate. Be open, direct, and straightforward, so your
child will see your example and learn to do the same.
10. Don't be a drill sergeant and a control freak. Once your children have
learned respect and obedience, give them lots of supervised freedom within the
guidelines of godly behavioral standards. Be extraordinarily generous with your
time, love, and affection. Be an extravagantly happy family. Discuss everything
you do and think with your children. Teach them the ways of God by relating
everything in life to Him and living accordingly. Once you are all getting
along, roles are understood, and all the jostling for power has ended, you can
devote your time to teaching, nurturing, mentoring, and enjoying your children.
3. Don�t parent by the �Putting Out Fires� method, overlooking all the
little misbehaviors and only correcting your children when they do something
significant that makes you mad. That is many parent�s picture of traditional
Christian parenting and it is incorrect and ineffective. Tomato Stake instead.
Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in
sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their
- Matthew 7:15-16
Wynne: What do you do when your toddler won't give in? I know he understands
because he either grins or yells at me in his baby talk, then immediately tries
to repeat the proscribed activity. Repeated training swats are ineffective, so I
eventually relocate or distract him. After a week of this we have seen no
improvement. Does he simply need more time?
Elizabeth: Each time you confront your child, you must win. If you don�t - if
you distract or relocate, or give in, or anything else - you�ve wasted your
time. Your little one in this case, doesn't need more time. Since he already
understands what you want, it's clear he is just refusing to comply, knowing you
will eventually cave and not require obedience from him. Quit being a push-over.
Outlast him. Every time he challenges you, let him know exactly what you expect
and make sure that his little world stops until he obeys. Do not allow him to go
anywhere or do anything, until he submits. An occasional swat during this will
speed things up, but the key is to simply outlast him until he gives in.
The first outlasting session can take an hour or longer as I described with my
third born in a previous chapter. Do not quit. Do not yield. Don't physically
force your child to comply with your request. Don't yell or frighten him into
obeying. Don't threaten. Don�t get angry. Take your time. Maintain a firm
"I�ve got all day and I will never give up" attitude. Keep pausing
and then repeating your command. Space out occasional swats and give just one at
a time, so you are not spanking too much. You must eventually outlast him to the
point where he makes the conscious choice to obey you.
Once he has obeyed you, give him a moment or two to regroup, then test him to
see whether he has submitted to you completely, or whether he merely consented
to obey this once to escape his uncomfortable situation. Ask him to do some
simple task, ideally something that would normally provoke his resistance. For
example, you might follow up with, "Good, I'm glad you obeyed me. Now go
pick up that book over there and put it on the table." Watch his response.
Repeat with several other small instructions. If he refuses or resists any
instruction, outlast him just as before. Don't quit until you are satisfied that
he has submitted completely in his heart, and recognizes that you are his parent
and he must ALWAYS obey you.
Cease listening, my son, to discipline, and you will
stray from the words of knowledge.
- Proverbs 19:27
Worse Before It Gets Better
As you are turning your child around, be prepared for things to get worse before
they get better. Not every child will completely submit his heart and spirit to
you after just one or two show-downs. Some children will continue to test you on
and off for some time, hoping that you will eventually give up and go back to
inconsistent �hit or miss� parenting. You must steadfastly persevere with
Tomato Staking and all that is associated with it, until your child�s heart
has turned securely to you. When your child believes that you will never give in
and allow him to control you again, that's when he will begin to truly yield his
will to yours. That�s when he will relinquish his independent and rebellious
spirit, and will come to rest, with relief and peace, in the safety and
protection of your love, guidance, and authority.
If intermittent disobedience is dragging on and on, it's because you have not
yet fully convinced your child that you are his rightful God-given authority. He
does not respect you and is just exerting his own power over you. The longer you
put off convincing him, the worse it will get, so welcome his tests, knowing
that each time you outlast and win, it will bring him one step closer to you and
Judgments are prepared for scoffers, and blows for the
back of fools.
- Proverbs 19:29
"It's Not Working!"
If you�ve been Tomato Staking and training for obedience for a little while,
and don�t feel your efforts are resulting in much success, here is a short
checklist of essential considerations to help you assess and remedy matters:
1. Age of the child -- The younger the child, the more times he is going to
"try it again." He is learning and wants to know whether you mean
"stop doing that for now" or "don't ever do that again". A
few repeats are necessary to explain things to him.
2. Previous training methodologies -- The newer this effort is, the more times
your child is going to test you. He wants to know which parenting method of the
day is in force, so he can decide if disobedience is worth the risk. Persist in
the methods taught in this book and the problem will resolve itself as your
child eventually sees that you are sticking to one firm, just plan.
3. Parental consistency -- The less consistent you are, the more times your
child is going to challenge you. He wants to know whether you still remember the
request made fifteen minutes ago. Are you really paying attention to him, and
will you unfailingly discipline him for every infraction? Rigorous consistency
will end any hope that a few petty violations will slip by unnoticed. Older
children will be watching for consistency as well. If you are not consistent
with them, they will deem it hypocrisy, and unfairness, and you will be unable
to garner their respect by any means.
4. Following through to success � Failure to correct all the way to completion
will only invite subsequent testing. You must persist until your child�s
attitude changes. The more diligent you are, the sooner the testing will end.
When your child learns that disobedience � however trivial � is futile, the
testing will stop. Allow even a tiny ray of hope that disobedience can triumph
and the testing will continue.
I do not write these things to shame you, but to
admonish you as my beloved children.
- I Corinthians 4:14