3 reasons parents don't need blind obedience.

meltdown punishment toddler Oct 05, 2021
Angry parents

Naturally, parents can fall into the trap of expecting blind obedience from their children. We associate being obedient with being well behaved or having “a good kid”. Yes, we need boundaries, limits and consequences for unacceptable behaviour, but what are the realities for our children when we continually expect them to be blindly obedient or compliant? 

  1. When children are forced into total compliance at the toddler stage, they suffer from not having the opportunity to develop a separate sense of self and may struggle later in life.    
  2. Children become skilled at adapting to the needs and feelings of others, but have little or no notion about what they want or feel, and how to go about communicating their wants and needs effectively.  
  3. If we're overly strict then we may have an obedient child and see the behaviour we desire more often than most, but this isn't through connection and cooperation, this is through fear and frightfulness. 

Now, of course, we all want to raise respectful children, we all want our children to be cooperative, but when we expect and demand blind obedience, we aren't working with our children to develop the skills they need throughout their life. 

So let's ensure we're setting realistic expectations for our children. Much of what we likely class as "disobedience" is quite simply our children being curious, exploring and learning behaviour. 

We can set limits and firm boundaries, we can model appropriate behaviour and explain right from wrong. But to do this effectively then we need to rock and roll with what Alife Kohn calls the 'working with' approach rather than the 'doing to' approach.


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