Ever have the opportunity to observe children who ignore their parents, children who are totally in control of what happens in the family? I recently watched as a little boy of about eleven grabbed some candy from a candy bowl in a professional office. His mother immediately told him to put the candy back. He laughed. A few moments later, his sister crossed the room and grabbed some candy from the bowl. Mom told both children to put that candy back! She talked about all the left over Halloween candy that they had at home. The children looked at her calmly and proceeded to unwrap the candy one piece at a time and eat it right in front of her.
Why would children so blatantly disregard the request of a parent? The only reasonable answer is that they don’t believe that their parents really mean what they say. The danger of this situation is that sometime a teacher, a parent or other authority figure may really need this child to follow directions. The ability to follow instructions might prove life saving in some situations. Some parents bark out orders without even stopping to think of what they are saying. Mom says don’t eat that candy without even thinking about it. She really doesn’t care if the kids have some candy, but it somehow seems like good parenting to say, “no.” Better to smile and say, “Help yourself to the candy bowl,” than to say otherwise and ignore blatant defiance. Consistent discipline helps your child feel safe and helps them develop a strong, earthy foundation from which to grow.