Training Kids to Listen
What’s at stake in practicing correction is probably better gauged by understanding what happens when correction doesn’t get practiced very well. What’s at stake, maybe of most importance, is gospel opportunity for the heart of the child.
To take one step back from that, if parents can’t get their children to listen to them for ordinary, everyday tasks, then they forfeit a hearing for the gospel. We want our children to hear the gospel, therefore we want them to hear us when we say, “Put your toys away,” “Get your pajamas on,” “Brush your teeth,” and that sort of thing.
If parents can’t get their children to listen to them for ordinary, everyday tasks, then they forfeit a hearing for the gospel.
For Their Good
To back up one step further perhaps, parents, by not practicing correction, very well forfeit their own credibility in the hearts and minds of their children. If you say, “Don’t jump on the bed,” and then they jump on the bed with no response from you, they don’t know if “Don’t jump on the bed” means anything—and your words begin to mean nothing. What’s at stake is the reputation of the parents in the hearts and minds of the children.
Further, then the future reputation of the children is at stake because they’ll begin to gain a reputation as being rowdy, disrespectful, naughty, and rebellious. Rebels tend to find each other in daycare centers, on playgrounds, at Bible camps, etc.
More temporally, what’s at stake is the peace in the home, in the church nursery, on the airplane, wherever they are. If they will not tune in to their parents, then that rowdiness affects everybody who’s around them and people don’t want to be around them as much.
So parents should want for the peace in the immediate circumstance as well as the possibility that they’ll be in glory with their children someday. Parents should want correction to happen well.
Jesus came to make it possible for all kinds of people, including angry parents, to be changed into people who yield their expectations to God in service to others, specifically their children.
You might feel overwhelmed by the amount of parenting advice that exists. Take a breath. Break the goal down into small steps, and take one step at a time.