Mentor Mom Corner: Expectations

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.

Holly Barnett

Jill Moore

Millye Hale

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6 Responses to “Mentor Mom Corner: Expectations”

  1. Dawn Buttorff Says:

    Ha! What perfect timing! Millye, thanks for your encouragement.

    Love this Mentor Mom Corner…just what I needed!

  2. Alisha Illian Says:

    Thanks!! Awesome!

  3. brooke wagliardo Says:

    thank you for this and for all the mentor moms being available to us!!

  4. Brooke Says:

    I love everything Building Blocks has to offer me as a mom and believer. It has been a true blessing to me since Square One 5 years ago.

    And in regards to 2 1/2 year olds mentioned above, I can’t help but ask, really? My kiddo should know his ABCs and count to 20 by this point? I’m hoping this is a generalization and not the rule, as my biggest focus is trying to guide my very strong-willed child’s heart. And that is a FULL time job.

    Concerned and grateful,
    Brooke Fish

  5. Sundee Says:

    Brooke, thank you so much for sharing your heart and concern. And thank you for allowing us to respond to it!

    I had a VERY similar thought when I first read Millye’s response. I vowed to myself a while ago that while I want to encourage developmental and academic achievements, they are not my primary focus. I want them to come to know and love and walk with the One that made them.

    By ‘say their ABC’s', I’m thinking that they can sing the ABC song!
    Reece couldn’t count to 20 without missing numbers until much, much later. And reading, well my 5 year old isn’t reading yet.

    I believe Millye’s heart was not to point out where they should be developmentally, but to point out that they are so smart, know no’s and yes’s, and can distinguish between what you’ve shown them as right from wrong.

    I can tell that even in my 19 month old knows!

    I know that Millye would never have wanted you to worry about those kinds of things, but oh how she is passionate about not being lenient on
    following up every time when there is disobedience. It starts early, and it seems that I’ve got work to do!

    I hope this answers your question and relieves your concerns. Please let me know if not. I will also pass on your question to Millye, so she can respond.

    Love you, Brooke, and thank you again for honesty!

  6. Millye Says:

    There may have been some confusion in the comments I made about the brightness of children. The point I was making was that kids are a lot smarter than we ever give them credit. My children did not read until kindergarten or later with Blaine’s dyslexia (3rd grade). But let me tell you at 2 1/2, he was as extremely bright. If I had held off consistent discipline for fear he was not old enough to understand, I would have done him a huge injustice and at 14 dealing with huge consequences.

    My comments about ABC and reading were intended tongue and cheek as an encouragement to get a game plan on discipline and be a parent your children can count on right from the beginning! My point was intended to point out that all kids are smart and we need to realize that and not be fooled. It matters not what they are doing as far as milestones at 2 1/2 but more importantly what steps you are taking from the beginning to incorporate Godly discipline while seeking wisdom only the Lord can give.

    I have seen over the years that when it comes to discipline parents don’t want to discipline for fear the child does not understand the concept of right and wrong. Start planting the seeds of expectations right from the start! It’s so worth the hard work…the harvest is sweet! Galatians 6: 9
    Love, Millye
    If anyone has any questions please feel free to reach out by email or phone 214-707-1435.

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