obey your parents

How to Get Your Kids to Obey Right Away

I have to admit I have been the king of repeating instructions to my kids. There was a time where I rarely gave them one instruction. Not to make light of anyone who stutters, but you’d almost think I had a stuttering problem. “Go get your shoes on…go get your shoes on.” It’s like I’m saying repeatedly, “Obey your parents” to deaf ears.

I have no idea why I did that, and my wife frequently pointed this out to me. I was the problem. By doing this, I conditioned my kids to not listen to my first instruction. They became accustomed to me repeating an instruction. The more I repeated any instruction, whether immediately, or a while after they didn’t take action, the less accountable I made them. I’ve recently learned that one instruction is all they need, and if that doesn’t get done consequences will follow. Here are 3 things you must do to get your kids to obey right away.

Make sure you have their attention

Spouting off instructions to our kids, or anyone, whose attention you do not have is a waste. When you want your children to do something be sure to get them to stop and pay attention to you. If they are in the middle of something, be sure their focused attention comes to you. By doing so, you are not only assuring your instructions get to them, but you are preparing them to be accountable and responsible for hearing and executing whatever they’ve heard.

Do not, I repeat, Do not repeat instructions

If you make sure you have your kids attention when giving them an instruction and they do not immediately and completely follow your instructions, then that is disobedience. Whether they obey or disobey, consequences are to follow. Whether the consequences are good or bad depends on their choice. As I mentioned earlier, and am repeating now (pun intended) the more we repeat instructions, the more we condition our kids to not follow those instructions immediately and completely. Your kids are capable of hearing your instructions and doing what you’ve asked.

Consistently follow through with consequences

Not following through on the consequences of their actions is just as bad as repeating instructions. You condition them to not do what you’ve asked because what you said will happen may or may not happen. This takes practice, at least for me. I have to admit sometimes I do this, but other times I let them skate by. It’s a habit we have to develop and it can be hard, but once the habit is developed then it’s easier for us to keep doing it and it’s more effective in getting your kids to do what you say the first time.

Rinse and repeat

Doing these things once will not be very effective at all, especially if you’ve been doing the opposite up to this point. So, rinse and repeat. Keep working at it. Keep holding your kids responsible. Instruct your kids to listen to you, heed instruction, and do what you ask immediately.

I believe when you do you’ll look up a few months from now and love how your kids are responding to you.

Sound Off

What do you do to ensure your kids obey right away?

Jackie Bledsoe

Jackie Bledsoe is an author, blogger, and speaker, but first and foremost a husband and father of three, who helps men better lead and love the ones who matter most.

  • Gabriel Castillo

    At what age do you performs these practices? 2,3,4,5?

  • Darman Westberg

    We did all this, and our two girls left the home. One, now 18, decided we were too strict and moved with her father. The other, 14, decided the same.

    • mxprivateer

      I had a friend who would do this (along with her sister) in junior high and high school. Their mom would be too strict, make them mad, they’d go to dad’s house where the rules were much more lax. When they’d misbehaved enough for their dad to crack down on their behavior, they would move back in with mom. The problem was the divorced parents weren’t on the “same page” when it came to discipline, rules, consequences, etc. and the girls knew that they could leverage one parent against the other. It never really ended until my friend went to college and got her own life apart from their parents. Talking with her about it years later, she realized how it had affected her by causing instability in her life, gave her opportunities to engage in bad behaviors, etc.

      • Darman Westberg

        I completely agree. The problem with children and discipline these days is the fact that families that end up in divorce or children with parents that live in separate households, do not always agree or work together to raise children. Some parents are too stubborn to work with their exes for the children’s sake. Sad, but unfortunately we’ll be seeing more of this as time goes. Another problem is parents try to be more of a “friend” to their child instead of being parents that provide discipline and consequences for the child’s bad choices/behavior. Too many children have too much control and this has cause a reversal in roles in the household.

        • mxprivateer

          It worked out in the end, my friend eventually realized that her easy-going dad wasn’t really doing her any good by allowing her to escape rules and consequences by going to his house where she could essentially do what she wanted without supervision. She came to realize that her mother was doing the right thing to protect her and her sister by being “strict” with rules, expectations and discipline. My only advice would be (barring an agreement with your daughter’s father) to hold fast and let them know that you love them and that as an adult who has “been there, done that” you are only looking out for their best interests.

          • Darman Westberg

            Some people, unfortunately rather learn lessons the hard way. I guess that will be the girls. We will always be here for them.

  • Tony

    I think attachment parenting works better.

  • Samantha Smart

    What consequences do you recommend when they do not listen?

  • Ryan Shipp

    I also have to remind myself to make sure that my instructions are clear and concise (especially for my younger children). If it takes me 5 minutes to explain what I expect them to do, it will probably be hard for them to remember everything. I take a moment to gather and simplify my thoughts, then pass on the instruction.

  • angela

    It’s about respect. I am not expecting perfection nor do I expect full obedience. I design it so mostly they have a choice and when there is no choice, I state there is no choice this time. Other times yes, a choice. This time, no choice. You don’t have to be harsh or ruling all the time. Teach them to think, think about consequence, and learn. You want them to do that naturally.

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Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Why is it important to obey your parents immediately?”

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