Okay, so we all have kids who have behavior problems from time to time, right? I mean, no parent is perfect and every child is an individual. Some of us struggle with strong-willed children who are less likely to be obedient. It often comes down to who can hold out the longest. That person should always be the parent, but it becomes exhausting, to say the least.
My oldest child is particularly challenging, spunky as some would say (like her mama). I feel like we’ve tried so many ways to appeal to her, and while she has a servant’s heart and genuinely loves her siblings, she also doesn’t seem to understand who’s boss. I don’t want to break her spirit in my discipline, so I was very grateful when I was given the opportunity to review the book, Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave? by Joey and Carla Link of Parenting Made Practical.
This article originally appeared on my old blog, Townsley Times. If you came here looking for this particular article but thought you were going to a different site, never fear, you’re actually in the right place. 🙂
When I first started thinking about this review, I realized that while yes, my kids need to learn to be more obedient, the problem really lies with me as the parent. I have not been patient enough nor consistent in the way I handle it when they are doing wrong. One thing I should note before we get too much further is that my husband has always worked quite a bit so he isn’t home a lot to see or deal with the behavior on a regular basis, which leaves me to be the primary disciplinarian. This obviously isn’t ideal, but that’s a little bit of backstory on our situation.
What is obedience?
The softcover book starts off with examples from the Bible to demonstrate exactly what obedience is. I was very pleased to see the biblical backing presented. The first change the authors task us with is to start expecting our children to come when we call them. They give the example of Samuel running immediately to Eli in 1 Samuel 3. Note how he is always positive and willing to do what is asked. This is what we want – it is preparing our kids to ultimately answer when God is calling!
The Links go on to explain that there are four aspects to obedience: two are actions and two are attitudes. We have obeying immediately and completely, and they need to do it without challenging it and without complaining. So, going back to Samuel, he came immediately when called and his very first response set him up to receive whatever instruction was given to him in a positive manner.
Thus, the first task we are to work on is to have them emulate Samuel – when we call them, they are to come immediately and say “Yes, Mommy, I’m coming” (or whatever other age appropriate response in the affirmative might be). This sets them up to be in a positive mood and be receptive to the directions we give them next. You would then add the rest of the aspects of obedience one by one until they are cheerfully obeying immediately and completely every time.
The Links also present suggestions for your “parenting toolbox.” They are big on natural consequences, which I love. Remember that obedience is always a choice. By putting the ball in the child’s court, you empower them to make the choice and then deal with the consequences (either good or bad). This is how it is in the real world.
They suggest that the punishment for disobedience be directly related to the infraction. This requires a bit of thinking outside the box in terms of how to discipline, but these things should also be natural consequences to their misbehavior. A couple of the things I have done so far include temporarily not allowing one child on the couch because she couldn’t stop walking and jumping on it, and having my daughter stand next to me at the playground after she ran off without permission and then copped an attitude about it.
I also find the tips they give on the Parenting Made Practical Facebook page to be helpful in shaping the way I think about discipline and adding some strategies to my “toolbox.”
What about your marriage?
Joey and Carla also cover why your marriage has to be a priority and that you and your husband have to be on the same page. While my husband is not here a lot of the time (in comparison with men who only work a 9-5 type of job), he realizes the importance of consistency on our part, and expecting our children to listen to us the first time and to follow through with what they are told. It was easy to fall into the trap of Daddy spoiling the kids when he was able to be home and hang out with them! But that is not doing them any favors in training them to be respectful humans who grow up to be productive adults who are obedient to God.
PIN IT FOR LATER! Continued below….
There is a wide divide in the Christian parenting world when it comes to spanking so I do want to include their perspective on it in my review. One of the authors, Carla Link, has a degree in social work and gives evidence-based methods to train your child in the book. She does not take a hard stance against spanking but she also writes that there are only certain situations in which it may be called for. She does not force it on those who are uncomfortable with it like some other Christian parenting authors do. But, she does acknowledge that it can have its place, with firm boundaries in place for why and how to go about it.
Everything in Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave? makes sense and the suggestions they give are indeed practical. It is quite a bit of information to take in, and it will take time to implement everything in our home, so it’s a great reference tool to keep coming back to in the future. It’s very relatable for Christian parents ready to say “enough is enough” with their child’s poor behavior and disobedience!
The Links have written a variety of books and videos on parenting topics, and Homeschool Review Crew members have been busy reviewing some of these other items! Be sure to check out the other reviews for products about parenting, courtship, and life skills for kids from Parenting Made Practical. Members have been reviewing:
- Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think (book) and DVD
- Navigating the Rapids of Parenting (DVD)
- Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate… What Works? (DVD)
- What Every Child Should Know Along the Way (book)