Patience, consistency effective in teaching children obedience

Each child is different and learns principles like obedience in different ways. We must be patient and consistent in what we teach them.

As the mother of seven children, I have found that the responsibility of raising a family can be overwhelming. My husband and I have children ranging in age from 22 to 7.Jamie, our oldest son, is now serving in the Canada Toronto West Mission. He has always been diligent in attending his Sunday meetings and following gospel standards. He graduated from seminary and received the Eagle Scout award. But he was very energetic as a little boy and had a hard time cooperating and following the rules at home. He wanted to obey, but he had a hard time controlling all that energy.

With patience and perseverance, we taught him that he needed to channel that energy and follow the rules. Now he is teaching the restored gospel in Canada and doing very well. His behavior reflects his willingness to be obedient. He wrote home early in his mission: "I know that by following the mission rules I will be successful and find those who are searching for the gospel. We are given rules to help us. Those who don't follow the rules will never be truly happy."

Nicki, our oldest daughter, is serving in the Birmingham Alabama Mission. She seldom tried the patience of her parents and was very logical in accepting and following the family rules. She recently wrote in a letter home: "I know having two out on a mission is a sacrifice. I also know you are helping Jamie and me to be obedient. When we are obedient, the Lord will bless us."

All children are unique and must be taught in unique ways. It would be convenient if all children had the same personalities, but they do not. Parents must discover who their children are and what traits they possess before they can effectively train them to be obedient.

When children are young, they often obey because they want to please their parents or because they wish to avoid certain consequences. As they mature, they discover that obedience leads to happiness.

My husband and I have always tried to see that the rules of our home are followed, yet leaving room for some flexibility. I have made the effort to be home with my children as much as possible to see that these rules are followed. When a home has rules and the rules are followed, there is peace in the home and children are much more teachable.

A gospel-oriented home is helpful in teaching children obedience. We have taught our children that gospel standards are a part of our everyday lives. We dress modestly at all times. We keep the Sabbath day holy every Sunday. We obey the counsel or our Church leaders. We follow through with our Church responsibilities. We serve and follow through with commitments we have made. The commandments are an important part of our lives each day.

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