L.G. asks from Clinton Township, MI on December 05, 2009
First Time Obedience
Ok, so I find myself getting frustrated, which I realize happens to all parents, especially of toddlers! My daughter is generally a good girl, but she often does not respond to my requests the first time, especially "stop," "come here," "give that back," etc. I find myself raising my voice, or having to make my voice more firm, or threatening to put her in the naughty corner (time out), etc. It usually takes 4 requests and me getting angry before she obeys. I don't want to have to repeat myself several times.
I understand that this is VERY typical for a 2 1/2 year old, but I also believe that you get what you expect from you kids. So, my question is, does anyone have a good way to teach FIRST TIME obedience? Any good tips, methods? I would like to work on this before she gets in the habit of listening to mom only when she gets angry!
So What Happened?™
Thanks to everyone for responding. I got a lot of good reinforcement for things I think I already know. Because my daughter is very verbal, I think I sometimes expect more from her, and forget that her little body is wired to push limits and test mom! I am going to try harder to physically redirect her after the first request if she doesn't respond, to show her what is expected. I also liked the idea of getting her attention before speaking. That is already working for us! Thanks everyone!
M.K. answers from Detroit on December 06, 2009
I heard a child psychologist speak recently. She was excellent. She recommended (1) request (2) friendly reminder, then (3) action...more or less. She has a book out entitled, "Beyond Time Outs" by Dr. Beth Grosshans. I think "first time obedience" is certainly ideal but unlikely with every child, every time. Especially with a 2.5 year old.
P.R. answers from Detroit on December 06, 2009
Children that age process information much, MUCH more slowly than adults. She's got to listen, process, think and then her body has to perform the motor planning necessary to accomplish what you requested.
Try saying it ONCE and waiting -- does she respond in the same amt of time of four requests? She may not need FOUR requests, but she may need one request and four times the processing time. (I've heard that children at this age process 11 times more slowly than adults.)
Also, if you're using your voice to direct her from across the room or even just outside her reach, you need to move close to her where you can gently guide her body or her hands, too. She'll learn more if you SHOW her, too, at her level, and as she matures, you can fade the demonstration/action and simply make a voiced request.
1 mom found this helpful
M.W. answers from Kalamazoo on December 06, 2009
Start the day (before incident) by telling her that she needs to learn to obey Mommy the FIRST TIME she is asked. Tell her that if she doesn't, she will go straight to time out, no second chances.
Then follow through with NO EXCEPTIONS. This might take a few days, and lots of crying, begging and bartering on her part, but if YOU are CONSISTENT, she will rise to the occasion!
My daughter developed this problem after her sister was born, and especially if I was in the chair breastfeeding, then she knew I couldn't respond immediately. It took me having to put down a baby who was still hungry and screaming for her to realize that I was serious and she needed to obey. My consistency was not as good as I would've been pre baby and it took a while for her to get it, so I encourage you to step that part of it up. She's doing much better these days.
J.C. answers from Detroit on December 07, 2009
What has worked well with our son is to enforce what we request on the first request. For example, "Stop" is followed by immediately removing him from whatever it is that we want him to stop doing. He knows that we mean it, because we aren't asking two or three (or, in the case of one family we know, 8 or 10) times.
K.M. answers from Detroit on December 06, 2009
dont tell her 4 times. tell her once give warning then follow thru and puy her in the corner. she will eventually get with the program. shes not taking u seriously cause she knows its an empty threat
K.P. answers from Detroit on December 06, 2009
L.: I think you received a lot of great advice here, but I wanted to add one thing. I'm a little bit concerned about using a Time Out Chair (or whatever) for every little thing. If this is used for the smallest of infractions, then it will lose it's power for larger infractions (and you know what they say: bigger kids, bigger problems LOL) Rather than consistenly putting your daughter in time out for not listening, I would go with the 1-2-3 approach. With the 2nd warning, I would give her an appropriate and related consequence to the offense: e.g. if she doesn't give something back, perhaps a toy, then that toy goes into time out and she can't play with it for X amount of time. With time, she will understand that there are going to be consequences to her behavior, and she will listen to you on the 1st notice. Of course, some things need response on the first try immediately, like STOP, because it can be a safety issue. Although she is very young, I would explain to her that STOP means STOP right now - that would be a reason for a time out, until she learns that phrase. Just my 2 cents.
K.V. answers from Detroit on December 06, 2009
Hi L., Before you switch to punishment, and yelling, make sure that he is deliberately disobeying. At this age, my son gets so "into" what he is doing and can't process other things. Make sure that when you are talking to him that you have his full attention. I find myself walking past him and telling him to do things. I find that he never "minds" when I do this. So I have to watch myself and make sure that when I tell him to do something, I go to him and get his attention, by touching him and looking him in the eye, and then only when I have his attention do I tell him to do something.
When I do this, he does it, and only when he is deliberately disobeying, does he not do it. However, more often than not, I am gettting ready to leave the house and yell from the bathroom for them to get their shoes on... and I find that they rarely do it in a timetly matter and I end up getting frustrated and yelling. When I am in the right place, I leave lots of time, get myself ready and then I go talk to him and tell him to please put your shoes on so that we can go to wherever.
Good luck, hope this helps.
C.M. answers from Detroit on December 06, 2009
As a mother of six, I can tell you from experience that the best way to teach FIRST TIME obedience is to correct your children the FIRST TIME they do not respond to you. It may sound kind of simplistic, and the concept certainly is, but responding immediately to your child's disobedience is much more difficult than it sounds.
First, you may find yourself giving a command more than once because you really don't want to have to punish your child. Also, you may be busy at the moment, with your hands in dishwater or nursing an infant. You may just be plain tired of the disobedience and having to get up to correct the behavior that you may be tempted to let the behavior go! Trust me, the rewards are well worth sticking to it.
Many people ask me HOW on EARTH I can deal with having so many little ones (#7 is due in just a few months now) and if I could give them just ONE piece of advice, this would be it. My children come when called, help clean up, follow instructions, and are generally just a joy and a help to me. This does NOT mean that we don't all have our moments! They are still children and I am still human!! However, I don't know of very many parents that can say such positive things about their children and their experience as parents.
I wish you all the best in your adventures in parenthood! May you have as wonderful a time parenting your little one(s) as I have!
H.H. answers from Detroit on December 06, 2009
Practice it in a game. Get her attention and give her one direction she's to finish quickly and return to you, then try another one. Stop before it gets boring, practice every day. If it's fun she'll be more likely to do it later. Good luck!