My kids are 8, 7, 5 and 2.5 right now.  When you say, “I love the process of working through it all together” {from THIS post}, how do you actually work through the really tough times when your kids just flat out don’t obey you. I feel like every time one of my kids disobeys my husband and I, I can get so angry and frustrated. And then I start worrying about when they are older and make mistakes that mean a whole lot more. You always give such great examples so I am wondering if you could share some specific situations and how you handle them. Thanks so much! 

Your question, at least in my mind, depends on the ages of your children when they are doing the disobeying.  One of my biggest epiphanies when I had a bunch of toddlers was when my Mom told me she read somewhere that toddlers lack self control.  I know, maybe kind of obvious, but it really hit me and made me had a bunch more compassion when those little sweeties of mine blatantly did something I had told them over and over again that they weren’t supposed to.  There is something not fully functioning in their little brains to help them make good choices, so when you tell them they must wait until after dinner to have a cookie, their brain simply can’t seem to communicate that to their hand and mouth that really want that cookie.  I don’t know if that makes sense, but boy howdy it sure helped me get through a lot of toddler craziness with my sanity.  It helped me have patience to help nurture that self-control as they grew a little older.

I also think it helps so much to just redirect.  Remind kids what the rules are and move on to something more exciting than rules and obeying.

To work on the positive (stay on the offensive rather than defensive which is my favorite tactic), praise their obedience up and down.  Lots more about that in the Q & A back HERE.

Another great tactic to train that emergent self-control in kids is to put what it says in the book “1, 2, 3 Magic” to work (HERE).
I’m a humongous fan of that book and swear it is responsible for most of the obedience in this house.

For bigger kids it’s more tricky.  I think helping them want to obey depends on your relationship with them.  And that takes time.  And prayer.  Sometimes the wrestling, pleading kind of prayer.

Some of my favorite ways to develop great relationships are listed back in my “7 favorite motherhood ideas” back HERE.

I am also curious what is on your mix {from my Sunday music post back HERE}.  Like someone else said, it overwhelms me to figure out what to put on such a playlist. Hope you can share! Thanks! I think this is a wonderful idea and it is one of my goals this year to have more music playing in our home.  

It’s just a mix of all kinds of classical stuff that I didn’t put together very meticulously, but man I sure love it.  It includes Vivaldi for sure (Four Seasons is my fav.), I am so moved by Jenny Oaks Baker who I talked about back HERE.  I have grown to love Andrea Bocelli.  There is Bach on there and Mozart too.  My mom introduced the grandkids to Camille Saint-Saens “Carnival of the Animals” and Peter and the Wolf and Britten’s “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra” at Grammie Camp this summer so we’ve added that to the playlist too.  There is so much amazing music in the world.

I’ve got a 4,3, and 1 year old and I’m just beginning the Repentance Bench. Do you think it would be helpful at all to start off by both kids telling each other about their feelings/why they are upset… and then what they did wrong? I’m having a hard time not addressing their initial feeling first, but maybe it’s better to focus just on taking personal responsibility. I feel like they need to recognize their emotion before being able to work through it. But I’d so appreciate your feedback.. especially since you’ve been through it as a child!  {I talked about the Repentance Bench mid way through this post back HERE.}

That’s a great idea.  I’d love to hear how it goes!  It’s always great to let kids put a label on their feelings…take ownership of how they feel and why.  The Repenting Bench is something that surely can be tweaked to the needs of any family.

I just know it works.

And I love it.

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  1. On the obedience thing – this is just my experience with my kids but some young'uns don't seem to be wired up to do what they're told 🙂 They love to challenge and argue and debate, and generally plough their own furrow. And end of the day, you can't normally MAKE anyone do anything even if they are three years old, but you can (often) make them WANT to do it!

    My two have had young, inexperienced teachers who've tried to make them do what they're told, and my kids have happily fought a raging battle with them right through to the last minute of term. The wiser ones have them sussed early on, take them to one side, tell them how wonderful they are and how much potential they have, and they could do even better if they (handed homework in, stopped messing around in lessons etc – whatever the teacher needs them to do). Instant result.

  2. I have a 3-year-old and a 2-year-old and I can totally relate to the frustrated toddler mama's obedience question. Hope it's ok to pitch another book on here in case she reads this: Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood literally changed our lives within 48 hours of finishing the book. I'm almost embarrassed by how much ENERGY I used to spend trying to persuade, warn, and reason with my little munchkins! It can be so much simpler, easier, more fun, and less stressful than I was making it. EVERYONE in our family is so much more relaxed since we started using the Love and Logic tips. Good luck to all the toddler mamas.

  3. We have always enjoyed classical music in our home too! My husband is a teacher and he uses it often in his classroom because of the
    its "calming effects". 🙂 I have two teenage boys who often listen to classical music as they go to sleep at night. 🙂

    For those of you young moms who are wondering how to introduce classical music, I would recommend the Beethoven's Wig CDs. The composer has taken well-known classical pieces and put words to them. My kids LOVED them and even now that they are older (22, 19, 17, 14) STILL remember the words and tunes to those CDs! Here's a link for anyone that might be interested! Enjoy!

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