18 months is such an incredibly fun age. Karis is learning so many new words, doing so many new skills, and just gets cuter every day. She loves to be Mama's helper and is such a joy to take care of. But she is also getting more stubborn and defiant as she realizes that she is capable of doing so much more. I thought we dealt with first-time obedience a while back, (ha, ha) but it is definitely an on-going process! And I can definitely see areas in discipline where I have slacked off due to fatigue, traveling, or simply thinking it was a small issue and not worth the battle. All that to say, I was recently reminded of a book and website that was really helpful to me tonight as I was reading some parenting articles. The website is called Raising Godly Tomatoes and the book is titled the same. I'm going to share with you a small portion of what I read that helped me a lot, but I greatly encourage you to bookmark the site and read the articles on teaching obedience when you have the time!
7 Quick Steps to Toddler Obedience
If you have a toddler who is old enough to understand you, and who is capable of following your instructions, you can and should teach him to obey. In almost every case, the following general steps are all it takes:
1. Watch your child and notice when he is doing something you disapprove of. Each time this happens, stop what you are doing and call him over to you. Make EYE CONTACT.
2. Tell him clearly what you expect him to do or not to do. SAY WHAT YOU MEAN.
3. WATCH to see that your instructions are carried out.
4. Correct him (with some immediate, negative consequence like a firm “No”, or a small swat on the bottom) upon the FIRST refusal to obey. MEAN WHAT YOU SAY.
5. Direct your child to repeat what you asked him to do, correctly this time.
6. Repeat all of the above as many times as it takes, until the child obeys with a good attitude - one of cooperativeness and willingness to obey. OUTLAST him. This is mandatory.
7. Keep your child with you and watch him diligently, correcting every future misbehavior of any kind, in similar fashion. Be CONSISTENT.
Now those are the bare bones basics. I'm going to tell you many more things to help you along the way, but if you keep your toddler with you and follow these few short steps each time there is a conflict, you’ll be well on your way to success in no time. Always remember to encourage and enjoy your child whenever he is responding well to you and living as a godly child should.