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How many times do we wonder, “Is this kid even listening to me?” When my first child was on the brink turning two, I was asking myself this question. It wasn’t until he was nearly three that I finally found a solution that worked!

I’ve read and searched and studied the answer to this question and it didn’t take me long to realize, that it starts with me. I have to “train my child in the way he should go”. This includes teaching him how to listen, and how to respond to my expectations of him.

It also is something I need to be modeling for him, which brings up another question…”Am I listening to my husband?” Definite food for thought there…

If you’re finding parenting a challenge, you’re not alone, but don’t let yourself fall into a “victim” mentality. Take action!

God has created a perfect model of what parenting should look like. Training is really all about teaching consequences to our children. What better way to set a young person up for the “real world” than to teach them from their little bitty youth, that every single action has a consequence?

1. Set Expectations. When it comes to teaching young children to listen (the first time!), we parents have to enforce the rules accordingly. If you have said or requested something of your child and they are not responding, enforce the consequence of breaking that rule.

2. Start Early. It is easier to train a young child before bad habits are formed, than to retrain old and bad habits. However, don’t lose heart if your child is older. You might explain to your child that things are going to be different now. You didn’t understand before, but now that you know better, you’ll do better and it’s all because you love them dearly.

3. Act Swiftly! Don’t let it fester. If you are to the point of frustration or anger, you have waited much too long to act. God rebukes and chastens us in love. We are to guide our children in the same loving way. We want to respond, not react, to our children’s behavior.

4. Be Consistent. This is the key to having peace in your home as quickly as possible. It is confusing for a child to “get away with it” the first three times you said it, and then get a swat on the fourth time. Now you’ve trained your child to obey on the fourth request, rather than the first.

5. Keep Trying. Don’t let failures set you back or keep you from trying again. Ask for advice from godly friends and take it all with a grain of salt against what God outlines in His word. It was a friend who recommended a book to me that helped tremendously. Her children are older than mine and they are all loving, respectful, and smart. I wanted that for my children.

6. Diligently Seek Wisdom and Discernment. Pray about your parenting. None of us are perfect, but when we allow God to lead us by studying His word, we gain knowledge and a better understanding of how we are to behave.

If you have questions or comments, please share below!

“Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

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