by John Mardirosian
A primary goal for every parent, early on in parenting, is teaching obedience. Obedience is essential for the home to function properly. This goal can be defined as: teaching your child to obey immediately, completely, without challenge or complaint in order to please their parents and God. As a parent, how are you and your child doing?
Looking at obedience through the proper use of initiative can give direction to our training. Let’s look at four levels initiative:
- Self-generated initiative
The first level is the highest and most desirable. At this level a child responds to needs without prompting or instruction. Parents may reward their children but most of all must be affirming in order to encourage this behavior.
- Prompted Initiative
A child responding promptly, with the right attitude, but only after receiving instruction, characterizes this level. The attitude that our children have in response to us is a benchmark for their respect for our authority. Parents should always be looking for ways to mold their child’s attitudes.
- Forced Initiative
At this level a child’s response is delayed and often accompanied with a negative attitude. The most significant difference between level two and three is that while the child is still technically obeying, it is under protest. At this level, we must give the situation our full attention and make sure not to reward this kind of attitude or behavior
- Suppressed Initiative
Children completely ignore their parents at this level and continue with what they are doing. Often, parents reinforce this behavior by giving in. They find it easier in the short term to do things themselves or lower their expectations.
What level are your children at today? What encouragement and affirmation can you offer to reinforce level one behavior?