Obedience is NOT a bad word. I know this goes against all the AP mothering out there and I may be asked to turn in my Militant Mothers of America membership card. BUT there is nothing wrong with expecting your child (especially at 4, 6, 9) to JUST DO WHAT YOU SAY.
I fight this issue CONSTANTLY with mine, and maybe that is what it rubs me raw these days. My boys are not instantly obedient, heck give them 5 minutes and they might get back to you; but this is something I continually am addressing. I do not have this parenting challenge down, and it is a real struggle for me (for us I guess, the boys have ownership of this too).
All the good, gentle / positive discipline AP moms will tell you either 1. that a truly attached child WANTS to make momma happy and thus will do as you ask cheerfully because of your relationship (implication being, that is your child is not jumping to please you by complying with your every glance, there is a problem with the relationship, thus you as the parent) or 2. that you should never stifle a child and they must be allowed to grow and flower without restraint (implication being you are an ogre if you want a child to stop their flight of fancy and pick up the shoe you just tripped over for the 5th time).
My parenting job is tough, not as tough as some that I know personally, but certainly more challenging than a lot. I love my boys, but God has too much faith in me and my boys are not by any means easy. I love them, but if I had a nickel for each time I hear “you got your hands full”. I’d be able to buy every book I have every wanted and then some.
I will be painfully honest. I am tired. I am just flat out tired of every single thing that comes out of my mouth being met with 1. argument, 2. question or 3 counter offer or some great and frequently unique combination of all three. To quote Nike: JUST DO IT.
Mine don’t just do it — but I wish they would, I strive for a day when they will; and I am not a bad mom for saying that.
If I see a creepy man at the park and say “time to go” I’d LIKE to see 2 boys run to the car. If I see a car I do not know coming up our driveway and I say “in the house” I’d love to see 2 little boys run in the house. I fear the day there is a stranger at the door, I say “go to momma’s room now” and I get whines and fits and stomped feet and carrying on.
I do not think I need to explain 20x a day why I ask for the water bottle to be sat up, why I tell them to watch their fingers at the door, why I tell them to not put their shoes in the middle of the kitchen. I do not think “pick up your army men” required a 20 minute dissertation on why it is a good idea — JUST DO IT. “Do not touch that” doesn’t need a reason, it needs compliance.
The fact is, one day obeying momma or not obeying momma could effect their very safety.
Parenting is hard enough with out each and every thing you say becoming a matter of debate and long winded argument. I miss the non-verbal
The sad fact is, in reality there are relationships where one has the power and the other does not; this is a reality of life. Sometimes you just shut up and do it; you accept that the person you are dealing with doesn’t HAVE to tell you everything nor explain in great detail their reasoning. You do not have to be persuaded, you do not always have to agree. A law enforcement officers tells you what to do, you do it; your boss tells you what to do, you do it…. Mom tells you what to do — you DO IT.
Tonight I explained at length that we were getting home late because I had to take Little Brother to urgent care (he fell at the park and cut his chin, tore it up pretty bad), and when we got home to go sit on the sofa while I unloaded the car and let the dog out. I even told them to put on a TV show and sit there and wait for me. We walk in, I, in a cheerful tone, say “shoes off and get on the sofa please” and am met with a “I want to play computer games, I didn’t play this Moring and we have been gone all day, why do I have to sit he is the one hurt” —- for the love of pete is it THAT hard just to do what your mom says?
I do know more than my 6 year old; I do not think he really believes that but it is true. I have my reasons, I am not known for my random behavior nor are mental health professionals generally concerned about my ability to think and act rationally; no matter how much my sons question it. Sometime I do not want to shout out across the park just WHY I want them to come over to me. Sometimes I need them to obey now (usually I need them to obey now) and would be glad to explain my reasoning AFTER they are away from the strange car, after they are not standing in the middle of a parking lot with a car flying at them, after they have moved away from the drop off into the pond and so on.
I continue striving for ‘obey me now, then we talk’ (and guess what then you get to have a conservation with a much happier momma who is much much more willing to reach an agreement, consider a compromise or agree to your request); I continue on the path – but I maintain, and I tell my kids, obedience is not a bad word.