The Best Way to Get Kids to Obey

Obedience is a command from God. But we all know how well that works out in our own lives. As adults, we are constantly battling the sin nature’s desire to do what we want to do, rather than what God says is wise. Why should we expect our kids to behave any better?

I’ve used a lot of tips and tricks over the years for inspiring obedience in my children—including humor (jokes are a wonderful motivator), positive reward systems, distractions, deterrents, and lots and lots of games. Let’s all pick up the blue toys! Now the red ones!

Heaven help us all.

Do your kids struggle to obey? Do you find yourself exhausted from all the nagging and training and discipline? We’ve been there too. Discover our secret to supporting our children as they learn to listen and do what is asked of them, that actually strengthens our family bond!

But I have to say, no matter the method, my one overarching approach to instilling obedience in my kids is encouragement. It’s the difference between building our kids up and tearing them down.

Tearing down says, “You are always misbehaving! I’m so sick of it!”

Building up says, “I know you are capable of making the right choice. I’m cheering you on.”

* * * * * *

Tearing down says, “For crying out loud, how many times do I have to tell you to clean your room??”

Building up says, “Are you frustrated that I told you to clean your room? I understand. Sometimes I get frustrated when God expects me to do something I don’t want to do. But I know it’s the right choice to obey. How can I help you?”

* * * * * *

Tearing down says, “Get over here and set the table. It’s time you started doing some chores around the house instead of constantly playing on that iPad.”

Building up says, “Will you please bless our family by helping me set the table right now?”

* * * * * *

Think of it this way. If you were the child, which way would you want to be treated?

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)

Next time you’re establishing an expectation or enforcing a rule, try offering your child encouragement instead of harsh words or consequences. Ultimately, even when the results aren’t perfect, this approach will affirm for your kids how much you love them—in spite of their behavior. And that is the picture of Jesus indeed.

Becky Kopitzke

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