“Mommy, stop doing that…”
“Doing what, Anabelle?”
“That thing with your eyes…be happy Mommy.”
“I am not happy right now, Anabelle. You are not obeying.”
Isn’t it funny how much a facial expression can say? Just by looking at my eyes, my two year old knows what kind of mood I am in. This conversation took place a few nights ago when instead of putting her pajamas on like she was told to, Anabelle decided to run around the house in nothing but her birthday suit. What is it with toddlers and their love of being naked?
She knew that she was in trouble because I was “doing that thing with my eyes.” Now, some parents might call me uptight for getting onto her about running around the house when it is pajama time, but give a girl an inch and she’ll take a mile. Trust me. Teaching a child obedience is not for the faint hearted. It takes perseverance. It means following through on your words with actions. If I tell Anabelle that I will spank her if she gets out of bed at night, and her little cute face peeks around the corner or her room five minutes later, that spanking better happen. Otherwise she gains that inch. Not only that, but she learns that my words don’t really mean much. Our children need to be able to rely on our words. How can they trust us if we are lazy in our discipline? They need us to discipline them, they need us to follow through, and they most certainly need us to be consistent. This is the hardest for me. Blame it on fatigue, laziness, or ignorance, but some days it is hard to sit a girl in time out for the SAME thing ten times. But consistency proves reliable when I watch her start to take a toy from her baby sister, stop, think about it, and find something different to play with instead. VICTORY! (At least for today…)
Be consistent with your children. Discipline them because you love them. Watch them learn. Pray that they ultimately learn not only to obey you, but to obey God. You want your kids to change the world? Discipline them.