Walk in obedience to all that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess. Dueteronomy 5:33
That includes our children. We are supposed to teach our children to obey us so that when the time comes and they have to obey God. We are the authority that they must get used to listening to. If our children do not choose obedience with us, if they are rebellious and hard hearted when they are young- what makes us think that they will be different as an adult.
So many people assume that children's hearts will all of a sudden change one day when they are grown and they will stop the disgraceful behavior. They won't. Short of a Godly intervention. God can intervene in some people and change their hearts, but not everyone. That child who is bullying someone on the playground? Will most likely bully their family and co-workers when they are grown. The child who is rebellious and disobedient to their parents? They are going to rebel against rules and disobey God as an adult. The child with an attitude problem when they are young- it will spill into their adulthood. It is our responsibility as the parents to cultivate in our children a heart of obedience and respect. Teaching them to honor us so when they are able they won't struggle to honor God.
We started noticing that our youngest was having a hard time following directions. His heart was always soft, but he had a hard time with self control and didn't listen to adults. This was getting worse and I could see it leading to a hardening of his heart as he grew. We had tried doing just about everything we could think of for "punishments" but they weren't working with him. That didn't let us off the hook. God would still hold us accountable for his direction in life. We decided to do something that we have never done in our home before - the ol' sticker chart! Yesterday was our first day and I already noticed a change in him. He is so excited to be able to put a sticker on his chart. I even noticed more self control in the stores we had to go in yesterday with amazing things for a small boy- a police equipment store...hello!
We will see how this works, but my hope is that the positive reinforcement will give him a positive association with obeying. If he accomplishes all 8 stickers for the day, right now, he gets a piece of candy. Soon it will be a few days he has to do it and more stickers each day. Then one a week, then he will be expected to obey everyday. If he is disobedient he still has consequences. But there is a reward for obeying also. Please pray this works in his little heart.