Why Teach a Child to Obey?

Dad and BabyWhen my firstborn was still a babe in arms, not quite at crawling stage, he learned a valuable lesson: the meaning of the words No! Hot!

Every child should learn this lesson well, and at the youngest possible age.

I was such a young mom yet I believed I knew that our baby must learn No! Hot! I thought he would someday experiment with things I might not be able to prevent, such as the oven door.

My husband was holding our son during his first lesson. He also was trying to see what the wattage was on the light bulb of our bedroom lamp. The light was turned on, and the baby, understandably, wanted to touch it. We could not convince him to accept our telling him “no” about it.

My husband had the idea to teach our son No!Hot! just then. I was unsure, actually.

Well, actually, I was too soft-hearted to be wise about it. However, wisdom won out and we began our son’s very first lesson on a different kind of cause and effect than he’d ever known.

We were careful. But we wanted him to learn what is hot and to learn that disobeying no would have consequences.

I could see the importance of that.

Soooo…after telling him no and pulling his hand away, and realizing he really wanted to disobey about keeping his hand away, we decided to let him touch it. We were right there and watching carefully, but we allowed him to touch the light bulb, knowing it would do FAR less damage than any other hot thing we could imagine. In fact, of course, we all realize a brief touch on a hot light bulb can do no damage at all, or at least no more than his car seat buckle during the summer.

It was a very brief touch because there was nothing wrong with his reflexes. After that, he knew we meant business.

Many, many, too many children do not realize Dad and Mom mean business. Maybe their parents are too soft-hearted to teach them this completely important lesson that is learned through a tiny bit of pain.

We home-schooling moms claim to be teachers of our children, but we often mistakenly think that means only the school subjects and only during school age. What a travesty!

Our teensy ones also need teaching, training, in the basics that will enable them to become better students and more whole persons as they face the terrible two’s and then go to pre-schoolers and beyond. They must learn to trust Dad and Mom when it’s not fun, when they are being boring, when it doesn’t make sense to the child . . .

One time, we were pulling carrots in the garden. One of my sons brought me a carrot he had pulled, excited about something living within the stems of the carrot fronds.

As he proudly showed me this beautiful creature, still within the carrot stems, I took a glance at it and said, “DROP IT!”

He was saved from the bite of a huge black widow spider, because he had learned at the earliest possible age that Mom means business. He learned, long before his schooling had begun, that Mom can sometimes be quite negative, but that it can be very good to go along with her.

When did he learn it? Early during his first year of life, during that most impressionable time.

He never forgot it.

And it still serves him well.

4 thoughts on “Why Teach a Child to Obey?

  1. Dr. Margaret Rutherford says:

    Very nice post. I wish all parents had this much concern over what they are teaching their children. And how they are doing it. Thanks for these thoughts.

    • katharinetrauger says:

      What kind words, Dr. Margaret! And WELCOME to The Conquering Mom!

      I have seen so many children treated so poorly, it just breaks my heart. Even just tonight, I saw a group of women laughing about what they perceived to be the faults of a young child who was within hearing distance of them. I saw him quietly slip into the role they imagined would fit him. I was sickened.

      Thank you, very much, for your weighty approval of my post–it means a lot to me.

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