Should I expect my 2 1/2 year old to obey the first time, every time?
Millye Hale, Building Blocks mentor mom and incredible mother of three, gives her insight…
I thought this was a great question and I read the question should I “expect”. In reading it this way, I absolutely think you should “expect” your 2 1/2 year old to obey the first time, every time. Now will they? Chances are, no. But, you should “expect” it.
During this life stage are many opportunities to train! We should don t-shirts when our kids turn 16 months….Trainer and trainee!
A two year old is not trained yet, but to extend leniency because they are two sends a clear message and allows a pattern of disobedience to take root. This is our opportunity to train our children toward righteousness (Hebrews 12 :11)! How exciting!
If I asked 10 mothers of 2 1/2 year old children who has the brightest child, chances are 10 hands would go up. At this age- they can say their ABC’s, count to 20, some are even starting to read, and you’re gonna tell me they don’t know right from wrong? These little people are bright and I assure you if you wait until they communicate that they understand obedience and disobedience, you’re way too late. James Dobson says if you start discipline 10 minutes after your child is born you’re 10 minutes too late.
So what does God’s word say about the art of discipline, well in Ephesians 6:4 he talks about discipline and instruction, and in Proverbs 29:15 he calls for the rod and reproof. In training our children, these two (discipline and instruction) must go hand in hand. I can assure you James Dobson is not suggestioning we spank our newborns, but I think discipline begins with a plan. Having a plan in place from the beginning is key, and even more important is to communicate it to them.
What are your expectations for your children’s behavior?
Begin communicating these expectations to your child right from the beginning. Certainly, when our children are really young I believe the reproof and instruction are key and should start right from birth. I feel as parents we set a standard of expectations for our children and this standard must be communicated from the beginning and often. My thought was always to set the standard high as I feel like our children will ultimately rise to the standard we set. In relation to this standard, I always encourage my children to be hurdlers and not to go through life doing the limbo or just enough to get by.
We must understand our role as parents and that is to train our children. All effective discipline must be initiated from a heart geared towards training and not out of anger. They arrive here with sinful hearts and it is our job to retrain those hearts. Always remember, it is not the severity of the punishment that changes behavior, but the certainty. The certainty comes from clear instructions and expectations communicated to your child prior to an offense taking place, and the conviction of consistancy to deliver consequences when the offense occurs!
Don’t look at disobedience as a burden to deal with, but view it as an opportunity. An opportunity to train, while we plant and cultivate God’s word in these tender little hearts that will ultimately take root and shape and mold their character as they grow!
Titus 2 tells older women to encourage younger women to love their husbands and their children. If you are looking for an older woman to answer any questions or just offer encouragement to your situation, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of our mentor moms.